What Is Bokashi Composting?

Composting is a big thing. Compost is great for the garden, and can help you grow some truly amazing crops, by filling the soil with nutrients. There are a lot of different ways you can compost, with people sharing hints and tips all over the internet – but what is Bokashi composting?

This new method of composting involves fermenting your compost, with the help of bran, and can use even cooked foods.

What Is Bokashi Composting?

Bokashi is a Japanese word, meaning “fermented organic matter.” It works by fermenting the compost, which adds even more nutrients than standard compost.

Bokashi’s host medium is generally bran, but rice, dried leaves, sawdust, spent mushroom growth medium, or the waste products from flour milling can also be used.

This host medium is inoculated with microbes that love an anaerobic environment, and will reproduce like mad as soon as they are fed sweet material, like molasses.

Although it is possible to make your own Bokashi compost at home, it is far easier to buy it ready made from a garden centre.

Once you have your Bokashi, you add your food scraps and composting waste to the bucket, often along with more Bokashi.

One the bucket is full, the lid is closed and the entire thing is allowed to ferment for up to 3 weeks – there will be liquid run off which needs to be removed (this makes great fertiliser for plants!)

After the 3 weeks you will be left with fermented compost, with no nasty smells, that can be spread around the garden or added to potting compost.

If you are new to Bokashi, this little video will tell you everything you need to know:


Is Bokashi Better Than Composting?

Any type of composting is good, surely? Well, yes, but there are benefits and downsides to each method:

  • Composting uses the actions of small microbes to break down the organic matter into tiny pieces, in an aerobic environment.
  • Bokashi is a fermenting process, where oxygen is completely removed to help with the process.
  • Although the final weight of  composted compost is much less than when it started, the concentration of Nitrogen remains the same.
  • Bokashi is a much faster process than traditional composting, but it has been argued that it may not give such long term benefits to the soil.
  • Composting is the best thing to do with garden waste, whereas Bokashi works much better for kitchen and food scraps.

What Is The Difference Between Bokashi And Compost?

The main difference between these two different methods is the type of process used to break down the organic matte.

Composting uses decomposition and heat to turn your vegetable and garden waste into perfect, soft brown compost.

Composting is used for raw vegetable scraps, general garden waste like weeds, lawn cuttings and twigs and leaves.

Composting requires a balance of materials; the Nitrogen rich waste like food and grass, and the Carbon rich waste such as dry leaves, paper and sawdust.

When you compost in the traditional way in a compost bin, you need air flow to keep the compost happy, and it often needs turning.

The results of your composting can be spread directly onto your garden, once it has finished the process and broken down completely.

Bokashi uses fermentation techniques, and it is a completely anaerobic environment.

Bokashi is fed on kitchen waste, including cooked foods and even meat and dairy products.

Composing Bokashi style requires Bokashi bran, inoculated with the right kind of microbes, in order to work.

It is sealed in its bucket so no air can get in, and it must be left completely sealed until the fermentation process has finished.

Once the fermentation process is finished, Bokashi needs a second step before it can be used as compost – it needs to either be buried or placed in a normal compost bin before it can be used.

To sum up, composting is a one step method, while Bokashi takes two. Traditional composting can’t take a lot of the scraps that Bokashi can, and it can take longer.

You can use a combination of both of these methods to make your own compost, and you will probably find that you are left with little or no kitchen or garden waste!

How Do You Make Bokashi Compost At Home?

You can easily make your own Bokashi compost at home – but getting the right balance of the beneficial microbes can be tricky.

If you are just fermenting a few kitchen scraps it will probably work out cheaper to buy ready made Bokashi bran, but for lots of composting it is cost effective to make your own.

You will need:

  • EM-1 (this is a bottle of liquid containing micro organisms)
  • Molasses
  • Wheatbran

Mix 1tbsp of Molasses into 250ml of warm water, and stir until dissolved. Add 1tbsp of EM-1.

Pour this mixture into 500g of wheatbran, and mix very thoroughly. The resulting mixture will be moist, but not soggy.

Place the whole mixture into an airtight container, seal it completely so no air can get in, and leave it in a warm place for 2-3 weeks.

After 3 weeks, open the container and check the contents – it should smell fermented and you may notice some white mould on the surface.

Spread the mixture out on a tray and dry it out thoroughly in a warm place away from direct sunlight.

Next, add your food scraps to the bucket and add some of your Bokashi bran. Continue to add food scraps until the bin is full, draining out the liquid as it appears.

Now you can use the resulting compost on your plants, and enjoy their renewed vigour!

Final Words

As you probably already know, people get very hot under the collar about compost – what is the best way to do it, what do you put in it, how do you maintain it, etc etc.

Now you are armed with a little more information about Bokashi composting, hopefully you will have a new tool in your arsenal when you are making your own compost!

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