I feel it necessary to write about the anatomy of a bokashi fermenting container for folks like myself who over analyze things.
When I first started with bokashi, I wasn’t sure whether or not it was absolutely necessary to have a drainage plate at the bottom of my bokashi container. So, rather than continually search the Internet to find an answer I decided to perform my own experiment.
On this blog I have instructions for creating a fermenting container. I include instructions for creating containers with and without a drainage plate. What I’ve found from using both methods is the following:
With Bokashi Drainage Plate
My first few filled bins had drainage plates. Since I had nothing to compare it to all seemed fine. I was able to ferment my kitchen scraps and access the bokashi tea. When I buried the scraps they did what they were supposed to do and all was good.
Without Bokashi Drainage Plate
I then tried bokashi without a fermenting drainage plate. In this bucket, I placed the scraps directly into the container and added the bokashi bran as usual. Because the bucket had a spigot, I was still able to access the tea.
What I did find, however, was that I had to tip the bucket for several minutes to allow all of the liquids to accumulate near the spigot before I poured it off. I had developed a ritual of tipping the bokashi bucket inside an empty bucket for about 5 minutes or so before accessing the tea.
The other thing I noticed was there seemed to be more “gas” released from the spigot every time I accessed the tea. I knew there was more gas because the top of the bucket bubbled up just a bit more than without the drainage plate.
I still got the same amount of bokashi tea and everything worked just fine, but I just needed to incorporate an extra step to access the liquid.
The Bokashi Smell
What I did note, however, was the food scraps seem to have a stronger smell then the scraps that had a false bottom. I’ve read online that draining the liquid is important because not doing so can cause the bokashi to smell. That might be the reason why the bin without the drain plate smelled stronger than the one with. The tea remained in direct contact with the scraps.
Conclusion of My Bokashi Experiment
The conclusion to this little experiment is that I prefer having a drain plate in my bokashi fermenting container. It not only makes it easier to access the tea but it tones down the pickle smell just a bit.
As mentioned before, drainage plates don’t have to be extravagant. Here’s one I created for less than $1. It consists of 3 Styrofoam plates, 4 plastic shot glasses, crazy glue and duct tape. It’s unattractive but it does the job.
Some folks use spigotless bokashi containers whereby they place newspaper or extra bokashi bran at the bottom to absorb the liquid. Because I put the tea to good use, a spigotless container is not an option for me. Do your own experiment to see what works best for you.