Bokashi at Home

bokashi home thumbUsing a Bokashi bucket at home is easy, fun, and very rewarding.  You can recycle all your food waste – including fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, cooked foods, paper, bones and more – and you can say good bye to smelly garbage, rotting compost, and the guilt of sending your food waste to landfill.  Not only that but you will never have to buy fertilizer for your garden again.

Here are a few excerpts from our instructions that will explain the process.

Bokashi Basics

Bokashi (pronounced bo-KAW-she) is a Japanese term meaning “fermented organic matter” and refers to a method of indoor composting that uses our MyCrobz to quickly ferment any type of food waste – including fruit, vegetables, meat, bones, bread, dairy, paper and cooked foods.

It is a 2 stage process that produces no gas, heat or foul smells – and returns all the nutrients in your waste back into the soil.

The first step – fermentation – takes place indoors in your Bokashi Bucket and the MyCrobz are present in the Bokashi Starter (fermented wheat bran or sawdust) which is sprinkled over layers of food waste as you fill your bucket.  It is this Starter that in effect ‘pickles’ your waste.  It takes about 2 weeks for your food waste to fully ferment and it will still look like it did when you put it in weeks ago – but that is just an illusion – the cell structure has been altered and it will quickly break down during the next step.

The second step – decomposition – is done in the garden, compost pile or even your own little soil factory. Most waste will be indistinguishable from the soil in a week or two and even bones and corn cobs will seem to have disappeared in about a month. While the waste is decomposing it is still quite acidic and we recommend you do not plant directly into it for at least 10 days.

A healthy Bokashi Bucket does not create bad odours, greenhouse gas, or heat – uses no power, and is completely natural. What you should smell when you open the bucket is a slightly sweet, fermented (sour), perhaps slightly alcoholic odour and it should not be offensive.

Why is there no tap?

You may be asking this question if you are familiar with the commercially available Bokashi buckets which come with a tap on the front – and the simple answer is we recommend the use of an absorbent instead.

The tap is used to drain a liquid runoff created by the fermentation process that is often called Bokashi Juice. This Juice is a very potent fertilizer that people have been encouraged to collect via this tap, dilute with water, and then feed it to their happy plants.

Great…however there are downsides to Juice collection – awful smells, nightmare clean ups, and the fact that many people create waste that produces little or no Juice at all. These downsides are not often discussed so many people have been put off the Bokashi process simply because of the problems associated with managing their Juice.

At MyCrobz we have done extensive research and testing on every type of Bokashi container over the last few years and we have concluded that it’s just not worth collecting the Juice separately – and that simpler is so much better. The absorbent you add to the bottom of your bucket will absorb the Juice and preserve it so that it is added back to the soil at the end of the process with the rest of the fermented waste – so no nutrients are lost.

And if you really want to make free liquid fertilizer for your plants; just use the fermented waste and/or the Juicy absorbent to make your own amazing compost tea.

Daily Use

To use your Bokashi Bucket – simply follow these 5 easy steps and keep our Quick Guide near your bucket for easy reference.

  1. COLLECT your food waste (cut up large bits) in a 3-4 litre container (no lid)
  2. DUMP it into the bucket daily or when it’s full (but don’t let it go bad)
  3. SQUISH with a potato masher (or something similar) to remove air pockets
  4. SPRINKLE a small handful of Bokashi Starter over the waste (2-3 Tbsp)
  5. CLOSE by replacing the lid for an air-tight seal That’s about it – repeat as necessary.

The only other thing that you should keep an eye on is the moisture level in the bucket.  The easiest way to check this is when you are adding waste. If it feels (or sounds) really wet when you are squishing it down – then it’s a good idea to add some type of absorbent or extra Starter. And if you know the waste you are adding is too wet; then add in some paper or other dry waste to balance it out.

Do's & Don'ts

Do Add

Small bits of any food waste including:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Meat – Fish – Bones – Hair
  • Cooked Foods – Dairy
  • Bread – Rice – Beans
  • Paper (shred or crumple first)
  • Wooden cutlery and popsicle sticks
And Do
  • Add extra Starter when adding lots of protein like meat, fish, beans, nuts, etc
  • Squeeze out excess air from the Bokashi Starter bag before closing
Don’t Add
  • Liquids: soups, milk, juices, soda, bulk oil
  • Rotten waste with green or black mould
  • Thick bones or large seafood shells
  • Large chunks of meat, fish, root veg
  • Plastic – even if it’s biodegradable
  • Styrofoam, glass, metal, rubber bands
  • Diapers, pet waste, or cigarette filters
And Don’t
  • Keep your Bokashi Bucket in direct sunlight or expose to excessive heat
  • Stack a bucket or leave the bag of starter on top of bucket with a soft lid
  • Forget to have fun – Happy Bokashiing!

My Bucket is Full - Now What?

Once your Bokashi Bucket is full it needs to be left alone for 2 weeks so that the last waste you put in has a chance to fully ferment. That is why you need at least 2 buckets – one to use while the first is finishing its ferment.

When your Bokashi Bucket is full, put it aside, and start using your second one. In 2 weeks the first Bucket will be ready for decomposition and at that point you have a few options:

Garden: Dig a small trench about 30 cm (1 foot) deep – dump in your fermented waste – break it up with a shovel – cover it over with at least 10 cm (4”) of soil and keep moist. Do not plant on this spot for 10 days but it is safe to dig the trench between rows of vegetation or around the drip line of a tree.

Compost: Simply dig the fermented waste into your compost pile and keep it moist. It will break down quickly and activate the rest of the pile. In this way it works as a compost accelerant and if there is organic matter in the pile it will heat up like traditional compost.

Soil Factory: To create your own soil factory you will need a large open container or tub. First add a layer of regular soil, and then dump in the contents of your Bokashi Bucket. At this point you can also add leaves, charcoal or additional composted material to improve texture. Mix whatever you add with some regular soil – then top off with another 10 cm (4 inches) of regular soil. Keep moist (not wet) and after a few weeks (or in the spring) your nutrient rich probiotic potting soil will be ready to use.

Feed: Your fermented waste can be fed directly to worms, chickens, or pigs. Remember it is quite acidic so start them off slow by introducing a bit at a time.

Bokashi Tea: Use 4 litres (1 gallon) of your fermented waste – along with the just emptied Bokashi Bucket and an air pump – and you can make 12 litres (3 gallons) of an amazing liquid fertilizer – overnight!  See our Bokashi Tea page for complete instructions.

Wait: Or you can just leave your Bucket (up to 6 months) till you are ready to dump it. This can be useful during a long winter – and if you need to use your bucket again you can just transfer the contents to a large garbage bag, close it up, leave it in the snow, and wait for spring.

Once you have emptied the fermented waste; give your bucket a good rinse and if it smells a bit – spray it with 1-Solution, leave it for a minute then wipe it out.

Complete Instructions Here