Bokashi Composting Instructions


Bokashi Composting Equipment

You only need one Bokashi bin to get started with Bokashi composting although we recommend using two bins if you can. With two bins, whilst the first is full and fermenting you can use the second to start the process again with your new kitchen scraps. Once you have your Bokashi bin(s) ready, the only other things you’ll need are Bokashi bran and some organic waste.

 

Bokashi Composting Instructions

1) Start by sprinkling a little bit of Bokashi bran over the bottom of the Bokashi bin. A small handful should be enough.

 

2) Add a layer of food waste to the bin. Cut up any large items that you’re adding, as this will speed up the process. Golf ball sized or smaller is good. It’s fine to add meat, fish, dairy, cooked or uncooked foods but try not to add anything with lots of moisture, like milk or juice.

 

3) Sprinkle another handful of Bokashi bran over the food waste.

 

4) Press down on the food waste with a flat plate, masher or something similar. By doing this, you’re trying to remove some of the trapped air, and roughly level the surface of the food waste.

5) Put the lid on your Bokashi bin. The lid should be airtight, minimising the amount of air coming into contact with the food waste.

 

6) Continue to add food waste and Bokashi bran in layers. Keep going until the Bokashi bin is full.

 

7) Every 2 or 3 days, drain any excess liquid from the Bokashi bin. Do this while you are still filling the bin in layers, and also when it is full. Most bins have a tap for this purpose. For maximum effectiveness, the collected Bokashi Juice should be used within 24 hours.

 

8) When full, leave the Bokashi bin with its lid tightly sealed for 2 weeks. Bokashi Juice should continue to be drained off during this time.

 

9) After 2 weeks, the Bokashi compost will be ready to use.

 

That’s all there is to it. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be recycling 100% of your food waste.


26 Comment(s)

  1. Tim Strickland

    January 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    This site is a great source of information , especially for a beginner like me.
    Thanks for taking the time to share the information with us.

    Tim

    • Graham

      January 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      Hi Tim. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’m glad you found the information useful. All the best with your Bokashi plans!

  2. Ken D.

    April 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Can you leave the bokashi in the bin for longer than two weeks? or is there something particular and/or special about the two week mark?

    • Graham

      April 27, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Hi Ken,

      You can leave the Bokashi in the bin for as long as you want. As long as you have used enough bran and the container is airtight, you shouldn’t have any problems. For instance, a lot of people keep their Bokashi in bins over winter until the soil temperature warms up and they’re able to start using Bokashi compost in the garden.

      The only reason I recommend keeping the waste in the bin for two weeks is because it can take that long to fully breakdown. So really, this is a minimum time to make sure the waste has properly fermented.

  3. Beth

    June 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Ok I’m new to this. Heard abt this Bokashi, Japanese composting methods from my hometown newspaper. The Leaf-Chronicle, in their LIVING WELL section. Very interesting and will defiantly try this method. I do not do a compost, just throw my leftovers out for all the critters to enjoy. But will now try my hand to Bokashi’ing (?) but I do have a questions (1)about the liquid waste. Can this be used on indoor plants and what ratio of water do I use to dilute it down? (2) if stored over winter, can I combine all the waste from different bins into one for storage until spring? (3) can the liquid waste be stored for any length of time? And is there other uses for it other than just fertilizer for flowering plants, how about lawns, trees, gardens and ect? Will the water ratio be the same for them as would be for indoor plants? As you can guess I’m new to the GREEN THUMB concept. Thank you

    • Graham

      June 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      Hi Beth,

      It’s great to hear that you are keen to get started with Bokashi. I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it quickly…

      In answer to your questions:
      1) Yes – Bokashi Juice can be used on indoor plants (just as it can on outdoor plants, lawns, trees etc). Common advice is to mix 1 teaspoon on Bokashi Juice with 2-3 litres of water, although I tend to use a ratio closer to 100:1. The Juice is quite acidic, so make sure you apply it to the soil rather than on the leaves, as it can burn. It you’re using as a foliar spray, use a ratio closer to 1000:1.

      2) Yes – You can store the waste from different bins together until spring. If you do this, make sure that the waste has fermented in the bucket before emptying it out into your larger storage container, and try to replicate conditions of the Bokashi bin (ie, no air or light and minimise moisture).

      3) Bokashi Juice does not store well, and should be used immediately. This is one of the reasons why I recommend draining the Bokashi bin regularly.

      Bokashi Juice can also be used (undiluted) to clean drains. Just pour straight down, and the microbes in the Juice will help to break down any unpleasant odours…

      I hope that helps. Let me know how you get on.

      Graham

      • September 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm

        Hi Graham,

        Very useful and practical instructions for absolute beginners like me, thank you.
        I note you mention using the juice for the drains, could this also apply to septic tanks? In what concentration please.
        Helen

  4. Nathan

    July 24, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Can you put bones in bokashi?

    • Graham

      July 24, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      You can put bones in the Bokashi bin with everything else. However, they do take a little more effort to break down so for home use I’d only recommend you only put small bones in (roughly up to chicken bone size). Also, they may take a bit longer than everything else and may require extra Bokashi bran being added.

  5. vince

    September 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I have a question about this process on a larger scale.Have a homestead thing going on here.
    goats,sheep,chickens,ect.No matter how well you take care of them sometimes,because of disease or weather,ect they die.The only way you can dispose of them properly,since you are not a big agribusiness is to compost them.The smell is horrendous for about 2 weeks.Can you use this for that purpose?

    • Graham

      September 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      I can’t say that I’ve used Bokashi for anything like that, or heard of anyone else who has. I’d expect that Bokashi would work to remove the smell, but you would need to use an awful lot of bran. Meat and bone is pretty tough to break down – even a little bit in a Bokashi bin means that you need to use extra bran. So, for a whole animal we’d be talking a serious amount of bran. The idea would be to ferment the carcass before it has chance to rot to decompose. I’d expect that there are better ways to deal with the problem than to use Bokashi.

  6. Pramod

    November 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I am really new to this so bear with me. What are the microorganisms in Bokashi composting. If this is anaerobic fermenting then could there be methane generated but you said airtight bins? I guess either the fermenting microbes breakdown the macromolecules but can they do without releasing gas like carbon dioxide, methane or others. Sorry for naive question.

    • Graham

      November 20, 2012 at 12:05 am

      The micro-organisms are called Effective Microorganisms (EM) which were discovered by a Japanese scientist, Dr. Teruo Higa. In the Bokashi process they essentially act as enzymes, breaking down (or fermenting) the waste. No gas is produced during this process, which is why the bins are able to be kept airtight. If there is too much oxygen present, the waste may begin to rot (just like in a traditional composting process) as the carbon oxidises and releases gases.

  7. Julie

    December 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I have been using my bokashi bin for a few cycles now. Is it normal to have a white fur covering the scraps after the two weeks? I suspect I’m doing something wrong. Appreciate all the information you are providing here.

    • Graham

      January 2, 2013 at 12:29 am

      Hi Julie,

      White fur after a couple of weeks isn’t bad at all. That’s quite normal, and a sign that things are ok.

      You just have to watch for a green fur or mould, or foul smell, which would be signs that something isn’t right.

  8. Jan

    March 11, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Dear Graham, I have been using my bokashi system here in my Sydney apartment for about one year. I have a two bin system and in general am pretty happy with it.. but have a few questions. I am wondering if I am not quite getting the system right, as there is quite a strong smell.. not rotting but more like a vomit smell, very strong fermentation odour. Every bokashi website says that it should be odour free. Today I checked the last lot of buried bokashi and besides many many worms there were lots of caterpillar/mealworm-like creatures. Is this normal? I buy a commercial EM bran and I wonder how thick the layer of bran should be ? Thanks Jan

    • Graham

      March 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Jan,

      Bokashi definitely isn’t completely odour free (despite making that claim myself). There is quite a distinctive smell, but I wouldn’t say it’s very strong – certainly nowhere near as potent as rotting waste would be. I find that the smell is contained inside my bucket and it’s only when I take the lid off that I notice it. Even then, it’s just a vinegary fermentation smell rather than anything stronger…

      Once you’ve buried the Bokashi it’s quite normal for lots of creatures to move in and start working their way through. If there are still a lot of them in the area, it’s probably not quite ready for using yet. Just cover it over and wait for another to week. It shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

  9. Rocky

    March 27, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Can the liquid that I drain off from the bokashi be stabilized for use later on? Or do I need to use it immediately? Would pouring it into one of my rain barrels be a good option? (dilution until use in garden)

    • Graham

      March 28, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      Rocky,

      The liquid needs to be used straight away (it’s probably good for around 24 hours). The Microbes in there need food to keep them going, which is why they can survive in the Bokashi bin. If you add to your rain barrels, you’ll still need to use the water straight away to get the full effect.

  10. Eric S

    April 14, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    I’ve got quite a bit of grease saved up. Bacon grease, and various sorts of meat grease I’ve drained off from cooking over the years. I’d saved it thinking I could use it for biodiesel, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. So could I compost this stuff in a bokashi composter? Would one of these composters work with, say, 6 inches of such grease in it and little else? Would that fact that it may run through the drain holes be a problem?

  11. William

    May 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Will regular bran work or is bokashi bran something special? Thank you.

    • Graham

      June 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      Bokashi bran is inoculated with Effective Microorganisms (EM), and it’s these which make the Bokashi process work. So, yes, Bokashi Bran is a special type which you’ll need to use…

  12. rodzky

    October 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    can i use bokashi juice in dragon fruit plant?

  13. Mariette

    December 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    My soil is already acidic. and I am busy getting my Ph. level normal by digging in lime. If the liquid is also acidic like you mentioned, will it not make the soil even worse?

    • Graham

      December 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      You’re right – it will make the soil slightly more acidic. However, because you’re diluting it a lot before applying to the soil, it shouldn’t make a huge difference.

  14. divya

    November 4, 2014 at 11:05 am

    hi. my doubt is on the bran and the microbes. are they available in the market or have to be prepared? if they are available what is the cost?

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