What I love about learning new things is that there are always new things to learn. Just a couple of days ago I came across the practice of Bokashi. From what I’ve read (and can’t wait to get started), Bokashi is a wonderful compliment to composting.
Since I’m about to start my own container garden, I’m pondering soil, compost and fertilizer. I tried composting many years ago with not so wonderful results . Composting takes a family integration period. The integration process didn’t go too well.
Not Giving Up
The two biggest issues with composting was
- Collecting the ever growing pile of kitchen scraps which had to be emptied often before the smell became overwhelming.
- The location of the compost bin and all of the crawling critters.
When I came across Bokashi, it sounded like the resolution to my two biggest problems.
Bokashi and Composting
In my opinion, bokashi is a precursor to composting. It is a natural technology, which in essence, ferments organic waste. Bokashi was first created and used in Japan.
What I like about bokashi is that it makes the collection of kitchen waste an odor-free breeze. You collect the daily organic scraps (including meat and bones) in a container then layer the scraps in the container and push it down to get rid of as much air as possible. Next sprinkle a handful or two of bokashi composting starter over the layer and close the container. You continue this process until the container is full.
The bokashi composting starter mix begins the fermenting process. So in approximately 2 weeks (from what I’ve read), your table scraps are composted enough for you to either toss them into a real compost pile, or bury them in the ground. After two weeks of being buried in the ground, it is fully composted and ready to use.
Fertilizing with Bokashi “Tea”
During the container fermenting process, the organic matter releases a liquid that his referred to as “tea.” This tea, mixed with water makes a wonderful organic fertilizer. The tea straight up is great for pouring down the drain and helping septic tanks to breakdown the sludge that usually accumulates at the bottom of the tank. The hungry micro organisms help to keep septic tanks running smoothly.
Still Learning about Bokashi
I’m still in the process of learning about this fascinating process. You can buy Bokashi starter kits for about $50 or you can make your own container and bokashi mix (BTW, the Compost Guy is a great composting resource).
I’ve decided to create my own container using a 5-gallon bucket and lid from Home Depot (which
should cost about $5 or so cost less than $8 for two buckets and two lids). I’ll buy a plastic spigot and insert it near the bottom of the container to drain off my “tea.”
My first go-round I’ll purchase the Bokashi starter mix, but will quickly find a workable recipe for making my own. Apparently its much more economical to make your own mix.
Enough for now. It’s time for me to get to Home Depot to buy two 5-gallon containers and lids. From what I’ve read, you want to have two containers. Once you fill a container, you want it to sit for a few days before burying it or tossing it into the compost. The longer it ferments, the better.
(Check out my first homemade Bokashi container)
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Great information Felicia. Thank you…you are like an encyclopedia…LOL. What a brain child.
I’m trying to catch up on what exactly Bokashi is and how it works. I thought I’d read what you have written so if you wrote about my question I apologize. I have tons of ants, spiders and some roaches that will graviate towards anything outside with food or anything they think they can eat in it. I keep my garbage cans sprayed down but bug spray to keep them away but it does not always work.
What I’m wondering is if I had all this stuff as you mentioned for Bokashi, etc. does it draw bugs that want to get involved with you? I would have to back my car into my driveway and use my carport because I do not have a deck. Ants are the worst.
Have you had that problem?
Joni, bokashi, unlike composting, shouldn’t draw bugs. The food scraps are self-contained in an airtight container until it’s buried in the ground. It’s buried at least 6-8 inches in the soil.
I realize I’ve been going a bit bokashi crazy so I decided to create a separate site to satisfy my recent passion. I have a page on What is Bokashi that should answer your questions. The site is still in its infancy but I think you’ll find what you need to get started.
Almost forgot to mention. If you have a bug, ant or spider problem, try diatomaceous earth. I discovered it several years ago and use it in my basement where I get the huge juicy black spiders. It doesn’t repel spiders, but it does kill them when they show up.
Very interesting. I’d love to try this. The bucket method sounds like a great idea to me. I’d love to know what’s in the starter. It must contain sugar in some form, I would think.
As I recall from listening to organic gardening shows on the radio, molasses or something similar is a great compost starter.
You’re right. From what I’ve read, the Bokashi starter includes molasses, effective microorganisims (aka EM), water and wheat bran or rice or even sawdust. Here’s a recipe from Tera Granix.
There are other recipes online that I’m going to investigate once I get things up and running.