Bokashi originated in Japan, the word Bokashi can be translated as ‘fermented organic matter’
Bokashi ‘pickles’ your food waste, unlike traditional composting where waste is allowed to decay. The Bokashi system produces nutrient-rich compost that you can dig into your garden.
- One bin slides into another bin, the inside bin has holes for drainage
- It has an air tight seal, Bokashi is an anaerobic system, meaning that we want no air getting into the bins
- Storage should be in a warm place
- Out of direct sunlight
- The garage, and laundry are ideal
- But keep it close to the kitchen
- In mild climates a shady outdoor spot works well.
What to Add
Greens and browns
Organic waste can be split up into two separate groups.
Organic waste that is full of nitrogen. It is usually soft, fresh and moist. Because of the nitrogen “Greens” rots and putrefies very quickly causing bad smells. Good examples of “Greens” are
- Food waste
- Fresh green lawn clippings
Organic waste that is mainly carbon. It is dry brown and brittle. Because Browns are relatively free of nitrogen, they can take a very long time to breakdown. Good examples of “Browns” are
- Fallen autumn leaves
- Paper and card board
- Dry “browned-off” lawn clippings
Bokashi takes 100% Greens. It is a way to easily process all your fresh food waste. Do not include any Browns in your Bokashi.
- Fresh fruit and Vegetables
- Prepared foods
- Cooked and uncooked meats, and fish
- Other food such as cheese, eggs, bread, coffee grinds and tea bags
- Wilted flowers
- Liquids such as milk, orange juice or oils
- Paper and plastic wrap
- Large meat bones
What is the sprinkle?
- It is an inoculant made from beneficial microorganisms, a bit like a yoghurt starter
- Is natural
- Contains sawdust, molasses
- Stops the compost from smelling by fermenting it like a pickle
How to bokashi
- Keep a small food waste container in the kitchen for your food scraps, and chop them up to golf ball size or smaller
- Drain off any excess liquid
- Spread the Bokashi sprinkle on the bottom of your bokashi bucket
- Add food waste once or twice daily to the bokashi bucket
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of bokashi sprinkle per 6cm layer of food.
- Ensure you squash down the food to push out the air as you go; this helps to get rid of the air.
- Close the bokashi bucket lid tightly after use.
- Drain off liquid at least every 2 to 3 days from the bottom bucket.
- When your bucket is full, close the lid and keep in a warm place, but out of direct sunlight
- Leave for about 10-14 days – Don’t forget to keep draining off the liquid
- The food waste should smell like pickles, and will develop a white mould on top this means the system is working well.
Liquid End Product
During the bokashi process food waste ferments and often produces a juice. The amount and colour of the liquid depends on the type of food you have put in the bucket. Fruit and vegetables may release more liquid, while other foods may release none at all.
What to do with the liquid?
In the home & garden
- Pour undiluted juice, directly into your toilet or down your shower or sink drains to help keep them clean
- Dilute the liquid at a ratio of 1:100 so 2-3 tablespoons to 5 litres of water. Apply this to the soil or the base of plants to help keep them healthy.
Solid End Product
What to do with the solid?
In your garden & compost bin
- Dig a trench in your garden as deep as the bokashi bucket and twice long as a bokashi bucket laid flat
- Distribute the fermented food evenly along the trench
- Mix the food waste with the soil
- Cover over with at least 50-75mm of soil (if the soil is dry add water so composting can take place)
- After 3-4 weeks your fermented food waste turns into excellent compost and you can plant directly on top of it.
- If you can’t be bothered to dig a trench or you don’t have space in your garden you can add the solids to your compost bin as a “Greens” layer, simply spread it out and cover over with lots of “Brown” material. Check out our Compost page for more details
Other handy Tips
- When the weather is warmer, or if you add meat, cheese or fish, sprinkle 2 tablespoons more to ensure effective pickling to avoid smells
- The lid can be opened easily by pressing down on the centre of the circle points gently until the lid pops open
- White mould growing on top of the solids and the liquid is a good sign
- Using the liquid regularly down your sinks and toilets will help prevent build-up of algae and help keep them clean
- You can also use bokashi liquid juice as a spray on foliage, use a dilution ration of 1:500-1:100 so 1-2 teaspoons to 5 litres of water
Bokashi Quiz questions and answers
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Question 1 of 6
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Bokashi is a fermentation process that requiresCorrect
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You should place your bokashi bucketCorrect
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When you place your food in the bokashi bucket you shouldCorrect
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What materials can you place in your bokashi bucketCorrect
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How often should I empty the liquid from my bucket?Correct
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Once your bucket is full it should beCorrect