Using Bokashi Compost In The Garden


How To Use Bokashi Compost

Once you’ve followed the Bokashi Composting Instructions and recycled your food waste, you’ll be left with a bin full of highly nutritious, fermented organic matter. Some people call this “pre-compost” because it’s not quite ready to be used to feed your plants yet. There are several ways in which you can put this Bokashi pre-compost to use. It can be:

Here we look at how to do the first of these.

 

Bokashi Pre-Compost Used Directly In The Garden

After coming out of a Bokashi bin once the fermentation process is complete, the Bokashi pre-compost still needs to break down further to fully release all of it’s locked in nutrients. Most of the hard work has already been done and thankfully, because of the effective microorganisms (EM) present in the mixture, the process is quite quick too.

 

Before using your Bokashi pre-compost in the garden, it’s important to drain off any excess liquid from the mixture. It’s not disastrous if you forget to do this, but too much of Bokashi juice in the soil could result in damage to your plants. Once the liquid has been drained, you’re ready to use the pre-compost in the garden.

 

The final stage of the process is to bury the Bokashi pre-compost with at least 4 inches of normal garden soil and to leave for around 2-4 weeks to fully decompose. After that time, the waste should be unrecognisable. It will look just like rich, dark, nutritious compost. In some cases, especially at colder temperatures, the pre-compost can take a little longer to fully decompose. If this happens, and you can still distinguish different food scraps, just cover the mixture over again and leave for another week or two.

 

It’s important to think about where you are going to bury the waste before you start digging, as planting on top of the waste before it has fully broken down could damage your plants. One method is to bury the Bokashi pre-compost in a bed you intend to plant up a few weeks later. Another method is to dedicate an area of the garden to this process, moving the finished compost to your beds or pots once the process is fully complete. Your choice of method will probably depend on the type of garden and amount of space you have available. Both methods are effective, and you will end up with highly nutritious compost.

 

Once you’ve decided on your location, the process is very simple.

  • Dig a trench or hole about 1 foot deep

  • Throw in the Bokashi pre-compost

  • Cover the pre-compost with 4-6 inches of soil (The process will be quicker if you first cover the pre-compost with 2 inches of soil, mix the pre-compost and soil together thoroughly, and then cover the mixture with another 4 inches of soil)

  • Wait for 2-4 weeks

Now, the Bokashi composting process is complete. Your food waste has been transformed into nutritious, moisture retentive, high quality compost.


7 Comment(s)

  1. Jan

    May 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Hi! Indoor, urban container gardener here.

    Have my first Bokashi bucket’s two-week-aged contents layered into a 15-gallon open container, so:

    2-3″ of bunny hay (with poops)
    5-gallon aged Bokashi bucket contents
    two handfuls of home made Bokashi bran
    3-4″ of commercial garden soil
    1″ of bunny hay

    Was unsurprised to find that the yeasty scent dissipated within the hour and now, I’m waiting and researching next steps more thoroughly. Found your site. Thanks for sharing your Bokashi wisdom :)

    • Graham

      June 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      Hi Jan,

      Thanks for your comment. Glad you found the site – your setup sounds good. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly that bottom layer of hay breaks down.

      Come back and let us know when you’ve worked out the next steps :)

      Graham

  2. John

    May 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Hi a new allotmenteer here with a question.

    Is it possible to layer the fermented bokashi in a trench and cover with 4″ soil, and then plant potatoes directly on top.
    my thinking is that by the time the potatoes have rooted the bokashi would have finished the composting process and provide a rich food source for the hungry pots.
    Thanks for sharing
    John

    • Graham

      June 18, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      Hi John,

      I’d have thought that would work, however I’d be very cautious about planting the potatoes straight away. The Bokashi pre-compost is acidic (and the final compost should also be slightly acidic) which can damage sensitive roots. If I were trying this, I’d wait at least a week after burying the Bokashi to plant on top, just to be a bit safer.

  3. Susan

    July 23, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Hello, and thanks for the useful hints. How far away from existing plants must the pre-compost be buried? We have a small raised bed plot in an urban garden and are hoping to bury the pre-compost in the same plot in an empty spot while other plants grow nearby.

    • Graham

      August 1, 2013 at 10:17 am

      Nearby shouldn’t be a problem. The only thing to remember is that the pre-compost is acidic so you’ll want to keep any roots away from it for a couple of weeks. I’d recommend mixing it thoroughly with some soil to help it break down more quickly and to spread the acidity over a wider area.

  4. Tonia Christiansen

    September 19, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Been using a bokashi composter for over a year until last spring. The bokashi compost was over 3 months old. Had less than 50% germination rate. At first the lettuce seedling just sat there stunted and then I planted squash in an area I have gotten a good crop of squash from. Again they were stunted, just sat there. I Put over 10 buckets of bokashi in this area. I do not want to give up on bokashi. It is so easy to use, but not sure what is going on. One row over where I have used organic compost the plants have done well.

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