Composting has never been more important, with an increased focus on becoming eco-aware and environmentally friendly.
Bokashi is an increasingly popular system that is used to dispose of daily food waste, with little mess, no hassle and excellent results that can help your garden to thrive.
What is Bokashi?
Bokashi is a Japanese word that translates as ‘fermented organic matter.’ The name has been applied to this system of pre-composting, which involves the use of effective micro-organisms, or EM. These organisms work to ferment the food waste that you put in your Bokashi bin, creating a form of pre-compost that you can later dig into your garden soil or add into your general compost bin. Effective micro-organisms were discovered and developed by Dr Teuro Hiro, a professor from Japan who isolated and cultured particular strains of bacteria.
Why use Bokashi?
Bokashi can help us to live a zero waste lifestyle, with a quick and easy process that can recycle more types of kitchen scraps than any other composting system. Adding all types of waste, including dairy and meat scraps, the process only takes around 2 weeks, which is much faster than the traditional compost method.
Once the Bokashi compost is ready, you can dig it straight into the ground or into your compost, which will not attract rats or other pets because of the lack of bad odour it produces. This method of recycling your food waste ensures that all of the nutrients from the mixture are absorbed in the soil and not lost through oxidation or wastage. There is no need to turn the compost on a regular basis, which saves you time and effort in the long run. With a reduced amount of greenhouse gasses emitted from the mixture, this is especially good news for the environment.
How easy is Bokashi to use?
Traditional composting is where we encourage microbes to break up organic matter, which can take an extensive amount of time. Bokashi is an anaerobic fermentation process, using different organisms to preserve the waste - almost like pickling! This process is much quicker and continues after the waste has been buried into soil or mixed into a general compost bin.
A typical Bokashi Starter Kit will include 2 Bokashi buckets, so that when one is full and ready to ferment, you can start to fill the other one with waste. These are compact enough to be kept in your kitchen in order to make it easier to transfer your food waste, with an airtight lid that will ensure there is no odour or anything that might attract pests.
Once your bin is full, it is time to add Bokashi bran, which contains the effective micro-organisms that will get to work in fermenting the food waste. The bran has been enriched with molasses, which will further ensure that there are no foul smells coming from the bin. This bran can also be added to animal feed, helping to increase their immune system. Make sure that you use enough bran in your Bokashi bin; you can’t use too much, but you can use too little. Once you have added the bran, try to get as much air out of the bucket as possible, by pushing the waste down with something flat. Seal the lid and your job is done for the next 12-14 days. The sweet smelling bran will assist in accelerating the composting process and when dug into your soil, will remove pathogens and other toxins to give it a healthier yield.
What results can Bokashi offer?
When the 12-14 days are up you will be able to open up the bin and empty the contents. The waste will not be significantly decomposed, as this is a process which changes the biological makeup of the contents rather then simply degrading it.
This pre-compost is at the perfect stage for burying into your garden soil, continuing to break down into a nutrient rich compost. This mixture can also be mixed into your traditional compost bin, helping the contents to decompose more quickly and efficiently thanks to the micro-organisms. You will also be left with a fermented Bokashi juice, which can be drained from the Bokashi bucket using the small tap. This is ideal for feeding to plants and even for using as a drain cleaner!
You can feed Bokashi compost to worms if you wish, as they may already be living in your standard compost bin to aid with decomposition. It is advised that you introduce the worms to the new mixture gradually however, as the new ph level won’t be something they are used to. After a few days they will be happy to enjoy the new diet. If chickens happen to digest some of the bokashi produce while they are digging in the garden, don’t worry, it is safe for them to eat.
Do you need any more persuading?
Bokashi composting is an inexpensive system that recycles and redirects food waste away from landfill. The mixture you produce will not only keep your garden healthy, but will decontaminate the soil from harmful pathogens and pollutants.
Composting at home has never been easier. No greenhouse gases are produced with this method and it will not attract flies during the summer, due to the airtight construction of the bucket. This is an easy way to accelerate the composting process, by simply layering scraps of food waste and adding the micro-organism rich bran.