Because I love all things compost, I invested in a Bokashi kit – two bins with taps and bokashi bran.
Lots of articles you read will say that you can use a bokashi bin to make compost. NO YOU CAN NOT. At least not in the sense that word is usually used. You can use it to make pickled, partially-dehydrated, fermented waste. However the resulting material still needs to be aged in soil or a compost bin before it can be used on the garden.
This is a two stage process.
BUT you can use the bokashi process to store a lot of food waste for weeks in a small bucket before further composting it. So what’s is the point of that?
- It makes a green waste collection service viable.
- Bokashi juice it is claimed makes a great house plant feed though some dispute that.
- Reduces trips to the compost bin if your bin is on your allottment say.
- It is a good way to start the decomposition process
How it works
The bokashi bin is a Japanese system that pickles your waste.
- You put the waste in a bin ( can be anything including meat)
- press it down hard and sprinkle with bacteria (bokashi) laced bran.
- The bacteria begin to pickle your waste.
- As it does so the waste begins to ooze juice. This you drain off. This juice can be used as a liquid feed.
- Once the bucket is full you leave it to stand.
- You can fit two weeks waste of two people (who cook fresh everyday) into one bucket.
What to do with your pickled waste?
- You can feed it to the worms in your worm bin. Bokashi is claimed to help in a limited space worm composting system. Compressing food waste means you can fit so much more in your worm bin and because it is part broken down, they deal with it more quickly.
- You can put it on the compost heap again benefitting from reduced space requirements and increased composting times
- You can dig it into the soil but you need to bury it deep to avoid attracting hungry animals who will dig it back up again. Personally I cannot see the point in that!
- Not tried this you can also bury your fermented food waste in an enclosed bin or box. Best to use a bin that has at least a 20 gal capacity. Start by adding 1″ of soil to bottom of bin. Next, add your fermented food waste. Add some more soil on top of that and mix it in with the food waste. Pour 3″-4″ inches of soil on top of food waste, soil mixture and pack it down. Cover the bin. Food waste should be completely broken down and ready to plant in 4-5 weeks. You can continue to stack additional fermented waste on top until your bin is full. Plant your favorite veggies directly in bin when food waste has been completely broken down.
- here are links to people who do this in the U.K. “You add the pickled veg to the bottom of a pot or mix it in with the compost. You then need to let it settle for a couple of weeks, but then you can grow in it. The pickled veg rots down very quickly once in the soil. Basically, bokashi vastly accelerates the decomposition process – so although you don’t get ready made compost out of it, it is well on its way. Personally I prefer to use worm compost, but bokashi is a useful alternative.”
I can testify that bokashi bins work really well for storing waste but because my compost bin is so great,(it can compost anything and is rat proof), and is close by ( just at the end of our very small garden) I don’t really have much use for my Bokashi bin.
I do use it very cold winters when the daily trip to the bin is just too horrid.
I thought I was getting a good deal with the liquid feed but this article suggest otherwise. “The majority of nutrients in food scraps is contained in large molecules like protein, DNA, carbohydrates, fats, oils etc. Since bokashi does not break down the food scraps these nutrients are still bound up in large molecules at the end of the bokashi process. That is why an apple still looks like an apple at the end of the process. The nutrients will not get released until the future composting process is completed.”
Interesting stuff as is this. Bokashi in way more detail
You can buy bokashi bins from Even Greener who claim that
- 4. CREDENTIALS Most of our products are made in the UK in our own factory. Including these bins.
- 5. GREEN MANUFACTURE Most of our compost bins and water butts are made from recycled plastic using renewable energy.
- 6. PRICE GUARANTEE Find it cheaper elsewhere and we will refund the difference.*
- 7. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED Not 100% delighted? Return your goods within 30 days for a full refund.**
If you are handy you can apparently make everything yourself including bokashi bran. I have never tried but seen online links.