Bokashi is a Japanese word for fermenting and is a method of composting. It uses a special bran which helps to ferment kitchen waste. Here we explain how it works and how you can make fantastic liquid fertiliser for your house plants, pots, flowers and vegetables.
What’s Boskashi composting?
Bokashi composting is a method of composting organic matter using anaerobic digestion. This means that the compost doesn’t need oxygen, like a normal compost bin.
Do I need to buy a specialist bin?
No you don’t! You can use a simple bucket, with an air tight lid or make your own. We bought one online for the office but you can easily make your own once you understand how it works. Usually the ones you buy online includes a bag of Bokashi starter – also called Bokashi bran. This is a special bran, containing microorganisms that without any air can transform organic matter into fertiliser for your plants.
How do I use the bin and the bran?
The bran needs to be scattered evenly on top of the waste, that you’ve collected, in the bucket. Be careful to cover the whole surface, a handful should be enough though. The bran can be purchased online with or without the bucket.
Do I need a garden to use a Bokashi bin?
The Bokashi compost bin is very compact, so it’s easy to keep at home, in the kitchen or in your office to collect any food waste – so no garden is needed!
So how does it work?
Add your kitchen waste to your bucket. Make sure to press it down to remove any air. Then keep adding a layer of bran, when you add new waste to the bucket. Avoid opening the bucket unnecessarily. You may want to collect your waste in a separate airtight container until you have a good amount – then add it to your Bokashi bin in one go, followed by the layer of bran.
What can I put in the Bokashi bin?
Everything! Unlike normal compost pins, you can add animal bones, dairy products and cooked food, as well as the normal vegetable and fruit peelings. That’s because the Bokashi is anaerobic. So without the use of oxygen, the food is safe from any external contamination at the bottom of the bin.
How do I use the fertiliser?
The Bokashi bin will very quickly produce a highly concentrated liquid fertiliser. If you have bought a Bokashi bin, there will be a tap, which will allow you to collect the liquid fertiliser in a cup. As this is a concentrated fertiliser it must be diluted with water before feeding your plants. Use one tablespoon of fertiliser to 5 litres of water.
When will the compost be ready?
It is important to say that even though the kitchen waste will be creating a liquid fertiliser very quickly (2-3 weeks), it doesn’t produce compost straight away. After the liquid fertiliser has been extracted, you can use the rest of the waste inside the bucket, adding this to a general compost bin or burying it into the ground or in raised beds where you want to grow your plants. It will enrich the soil and eventually become compost here.
What are the pro’s and con’s of using a Bokashi compost bin?
It’s very compact and you can keep it in a flat or in an office. You can add most organic waste, vegetables, animal bones and even cooked food. Also you have a fabulous fertiliser for your plants. What is not ideal, is that it needs to be emptied into a compost bin or buried into the soil. So if you don’t have access to a garden or a community garden it can be a bit problematic.
Also is not totally free. As after setting up the bucket you need to feed the system with Bokashi bran and if you cannot produce it at home, you have to purchase it.
There are lots of different makes and places to buy from. You could try a local garden centre or online try Wiggly Wigglers .
Our Bokashi bin is from Hozelock