Bokashi is a method of recycling organic matter. The word bokashi in Japanese means fermented organic matter. This site addresses recycling everyday household kitchen and yard wastes the bokashi way.
Be careful not to confuse bokashi with composting. Although the end product is the same, the method by which it is accomplished is much different.
Layman’s Composting/Bokashi Explanation
Not to get too technical, composting is an aerobic process whereby the proper mixture of green (food wastes, weeds, grass, etc) and brown matter (paper, leaves, straw, sawdust) combined with moisture and air create heat and causes the matter to decompose.
The end products are nutrient-rich soil, compost tea and a release of carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide release is a much-preferred byproduct to the methane gas released in landfills. The compost can be soil ready in about 3 months depending on a number of factors.
Bokashi, on the other hand, is an anaerobic process. It does not require air and only breaks down organic matter (the greens). The organic matter is broken down by microorganisms that are added to the green matter by sprinkling a mix (aka bokashi mix) consisting of effective microorganisms, molasses, water and wheat bran (or in some cases sawdust).
The mix and lack of air cause the organic matter to ferment and gives a byproduct of fermented organic matter and bokashi tea. There’s no heat involved in the bokashi process and the bokashi can be soil ready in 4 to 6 weeks.
Which Process is Better?
There are pros and cons to each process. It all depends on your own particular needs.
For example, if you have lots of newspapers and brown wastes to recycle, composting wins hands down since bokashi is for organic material only. Or, if you live in an apartment and do not have access to a yard, then bokashi is the way to go.
Compost piles can be started for free. All you need is ample space and you’re good to go. Bokashi has startup costs. You can minimize the costs by preparing your own bokashi bin and making your own mix, but it’s not a free process.
To get a compost pile cooking, you’ve got to introduce air, water and mix it up every so often. Bokashi requires green matter and a sprinkling of mix when added to the bucket. It does the rest.
Beginning and End
Composts start and end in one location. You add the material, mix and the end product will form at the bottom of your composter or compost pile. Bokashi requires a second step. You can forever ferment your greens in a bokashi bucket to continue to reap the benefits of bokashi tea, but eventually, you want to take it to the next step. That means you’ve got to bury your fermented mix in soil.
The soil doesn’t have to be in a yard. Bokashi breaks down just as easily in a yard or in a bin with plain old dirt. Throw the bokashi in the dirt, mix it a little and place a layer of dirt over it. In a few weeks, you’ll find the container of nutrient-rich soil without a trace of the food scraps.
Takes Work on Your Part
Whether you use the compost or the bokashi method, it will take a change in thinking. No longer is discarding trash as simple as throwing it all into one trash receptacle. You’ve got to retrain yourself and your family to sort and discard appropriately. If you’re willing to do that, this site can help you if you choose the bokashi method.
This post was transferred from one of my other soon to be defunct blogs hvbokashi.com.