How To Use A Bokashi Bucket For Indoor Composting

What is Bokashi Composting?

Bokashi is a composting option that enables you to transform kitchen trash into priceless soil for your garden. Although the process is often referred to as "bokashi composting," it is actually the process of fermenting organic waste using specific microbes rather than composting. Bran powder inoculated with specific bacteria is added to kitchen waste in an airtight container to start the fermentation process. Once the bucket is full and allowed to age for two weeks, the pre-fermented compost can then be added to the soil to add nutrients and improve soil structure, or it can be added to a conventional compost pile and allowed to finish breaking up. 

Bokashi can be composted indoors and can process odorless waste that isn't normally put into regular compost piles, such as oily foods, cooked food, bones, milk, and meat. Because of these unique characteristics, this type of compost is ideal for those who live in apartments or are unable to manage a regular compost pile. Because there is practically no restriction on the kinds of organic waste Bokashi may compost and because action can be taken, bokashi composting can also be a helpful addition for individuals who already have a standard compost pile and/or worm bin.

Bokashi versus traditional methods of composting

Bokashi is an aerobic method that ferments organic materials, such as kitchen trash, as opposed to typical composting, which breaks down organic matter into humus. Kitchen scraps don't entirely rot before being incorporated into the soil using bokashi. Instead, a unique combination of microorganisms is used to ferment it.

How to equip a bokashi bucket

To get started with bokashi composting, you can either purchase a ready-to-use bokashi bucket or make your own. I purchased the Bokashi All Season Indoor Composting Bucket Set which included a bucket and a bag of Bokashi Bran. You can also make your own spigot by attaching a spigot to any airtight bucket and adding a raised grate to the bottom of the bucket. You'll also need a container to collect your kitchen scraps, which you'll transfer to your Bokashi bucket every few days. Starting a bokashi composting project is simple if you have the necessary materials.

Step 1: Prepare the bucket.

Make sure the spigot on the bokashi container is closed tightly, then place the bottom grate into the bucket. Sprinkle a thin layer of bokashi bran on the bottom grid of the can. It is not a thick layer. It only needs to cover the surface.

Step two: add some leftovers.

You are now ready to add your first batch of leftovers. Simply place collected kitchen waste into the Bokashi Bucket. Make sure it is evenly distributed over the bottom surface.

Sprinkle another layer of bokashi bran evenly over the leftovers. Press the mixture down to remove any trapped air. You can do this with a potato masher or press a plastic bag over the waste with your hands. Some boxes come with a special tool to use for this.

Step 3:  Seal Out Air

Bokashi is an anaerobic process, so you want to make sure to get as much air out of the food waste as possible to make the process efficient. I use a plastic bag for this (I recently switched to biodegradable garbage bags. I'm still experimenting with them to see if they really work. They are compostable in a home composting system).

After squeezing out the excess air from the waste in Step 2, I let the plastic bag sit over the waste, then close the bucket. When putting the lid back on the bokashi bucket, be sure to close it tightly. If they are not sealed tightly, air can get in, causing leftovers to start rotting instead of fermenting. This will create an unpleasant odor and lead to mold growth, which you don't want for composting bokashi.

Step 4: Drain the Liquid

You'll want to drain any liquid out of the bucket every few days using the spigot at the bottom. This liquid is sometimes called "bokashi tea". If too much liquid collects inside the bucket, microbes can drown, and the bucket can fail. The substance you put in the bokashi bucket determines the liquid's volume and colour.

Bokashi tea can be mixed with water and used as a fertilizer. It can also be used as an excellent drain cleaner. To use it as a drain cleaner, pour it down a clogged sink drain. It is completely safe for pipes and can also aid microbes in septic systems or septic tanks. I have found that bokashi tea works better than commercial drain cleaners for removing tough blockages.

Step 5: Repeat.

Repeat the above steps several times a week until your bokashi bucket is full.

Note: You may see a white, moldy substance in the trash. This is completely normal. However, if you see blue or green mold, that is a sign that something is wrong, and that the box is failing. You can try adding more bokashi bran to fix this.

Step 6: Aging the bokashi compost

After the bucket is full, add another layer of bokashi bran, then close the bucket. Set it aside for two weeks, continuing to drain the excess liquid once or twice a week. Keep the bucket at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. You might consider getting bokashi buckets so that you still have one to use while the first is in the aging process.

Step 7: Bury the Bokashi Pre-compost.

Now it's time for the fun part. After you've aged your bokashi pre-compost for two weeks, it's time to bury it. You can either add it to your compost pile to stop decomposition or bury it directly in your garden. Don't panic if the content doesn't look much different than it did when you added it to the collection.

This is how it should be. Bokashi simply ferments your organic waste. Once added to the soil or compost pile, it will complete the decomposition process.

If you are burying it directly in the soil, wait at least two weeks before you plant anything in the area. Fresh bokashi compost is very acidic and will burn the tender roots of new plants. Give it time to work it into the soil before planting.

Bokashi benefits over traditional methods of composting

The main advantage of composting bokashi over traditional methods is that bokashi can process much more types of waste than other methods. Virtually any type of food waste, including cheese and other dairy products, cooked foods, processed foods, pasta, bones, skin, and meat, can be effectively recycled in a soil amendment using this method.

Another advantage of bokashi composting is that it may be done within your house, eliminating the need to empty your collecting bucket outside.

If you are not familiar with worms, a bokashi bucket system may be more suitable indoor composting alternative than a worm bin for you. Bokashi also has the added advantage of not releasing any greenhouse gases compared to the regular decomposition of compost piles.

Post a Comment