Your Step-by-Step Guide to Bokashi Composting with My Little Bokashi Farm

Composting can be a rewarding experience, especially when using the Bokashi method.

Bokashi composting is a unique process hailing from Japan, and its name means “fermented organic matter.”

Unlike traditional composting, Bokashi is anaerobic, meaning it does not require oxygen to decompose organic material.

Instead, it relies on a specific set of microbes to ferment food waste, including difficult items like meat and bones.

Bokashi composting system. Bokashi composting is characterized by the anaerobic fermentation of organic waste, which is aided by the introduction of Bokashi bran (a mixture of microbes, typically including lactobacilli, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria). The bran is sprinkled over layers of kitchen scraps in a sealed container. The presence of white mold is common and indicates the fermentation process is occurring as expected. This method is an effective way to recycle kitchen waste into a valuable soil amendment without the unpleasant odors often associated with traditional composting methods. After the initial fermentation in the bucket, the contents are usually buried in soil to complete the breakdown process before being used in gardens.

The process is surprisingly simple and starts with a sealed bin and Bokashi bran, which is a mixture of effective microorganisms.

You layer your kitchen scraps in the bin and sprinkle them with Bokashi bran, pressing down to remove air.

Seal the bin and let it sit, draining any liquid that accumulates, which can be used as a plant fertilizer.

The key to successful Bokashi composting is maintaining the right conditions for the lactobacillus bacteria to thrive, which keep harmful pathogens at bay and prevent foul odors.

However, given the acidic nature of the finished product, it’s crucial to understand how to use it properly.

The acidity can be detrimental to plants if the Bokashi pre-compost is not buried in soil or otherwise neutralized before use.

But when done right, you’ll be rewarded not just with a rich soil amendment but also with delightful surprises like the blooms of lilies on your balcony.

Bokashi compost bin, which is a specific type of compost system designed to break down organic waste through an anaerobic fermentation process. The bin typically has a tight-sealing lid to maintain anaerobic conditions and a spigot near the bottom to drain off leachate, which can be diluted and used as a liquid fertilizer. The presence of accessories like a scoop and a bag of Bokashi bran indicates that this setup is used to mix the bran with kitchen waste to facilitate the fermentation process. This method of composting is odor-controlled and can handle a variety of kitchen scraps, including items that aren't traditionally compostable through aerobic methods, like meat and dairy products.

Transforming your kitchen waste into a valuable garden resource can be a gratifying venture, especially with the Bokashi method.

This Japanese technique, which means “fermented organic matter,” takes composting indoors, without the odor and with the added bonus of dealing with meat and bones.

Here’s how to get started with Bokashi composting, as shown in the images you’ve provided.

Step 1: Set Up Your Bokashi Bin

Obtain a Bokashi compost bin, which is distinguishable by its airtight design and a tap at the bottom for drainage.

The bin’s design is crucial as it maintains the anaerobic conditions necessary for fermentation.

Step 2: Begin with Bokashi Bran

The process kicks off with a layer of Bokashi bran at the base of your bin.

This bran contains the effective microorganisms needed to ferment your waste.

Step 3: Add Your Kitchen Scraps

Collect your organic waste, including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and even meat and dairy products.

It’s beneficial to cut larger pieces smaller to expedite fermentation.

Step 4: Layering Your Waste

Layer your waste materials in the bin, compressing them to remove excess air.

The goal is to create an oxygen-free environment, which is essential for Bokashi composting.

Step 5: Sprinkle More Bran

After each new layer of scraps, add another handful of Bokashi bran.

This ensures the microorganisms are well-distributed and ready to ferment the new addition.

Step 6: Seal It Up

After each addition, ensure the bin is sealed to preserve the anaerobic environment.

Store it in a location that’s out of direct sunlight and at a stable temperature.

Step 7: Drain Regularly

The process will produce a liquid byproduct, which should be drained every couple of days.

This liquid, or ‘Bokashi tea’, is a potent fertilizer when diluted.

Step 8: Let It Ferment

Once your bin is full, let it sit for about two weeks to ferment.

You’ll know it’s working if you see white mold and smell a sweet, vinegary scent instead of rot.

Step 9: Bury Your Pre-Compost

After the fermentation period, bury the contents in your garden soil.

The high acidity from fermentation will neutralize in the soil, and in a few weeks, it will break down completely.

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Conclusion

Bokashi composting is a straightforward and smell-free process.

It can be particularly exciting to see the direct results of your efforts, like the unexpected bloom of lilies on your balcony garden.

The process turns waste into treasure and is suitable for urban dwellers and garden enthusiasts alike.

Call to Action

Interested in learning more about Bokashi and other composting methods to enrich your garden?

Join the courses offered by soil microbiologist Elaine Ingham to unlock the full potential of your compost.

Transform your kitchen waste into black gold for your plants.

Giuseppe Tallarico
 

Discover how Giuseppe Tallarico, an agronomist dissatisfied with office life, transformed his passion for nature into a regenerative revolution. Leaving behind a career in the corporate sector, Giuseppe followed his heart towards permaculture. His transformation from a professional in quality and environmental fields to an innovator in regenerative agriculture has been an inspiring journey. Through founding the Urban Permaculture Laboratory and teaching, Giuseppe has created a lasting impact in the community and the world of permaculture. Join Giuseppe in his courses, consultancy work, and innovative projects to explore how you too can make a difference. Discover his blog articles, evoking images, sounds, and emotions, immersing you in the world of regenerative agriculture. Unlock Sustainable Solutions with Giuseppe Tallarico - Explore Here!