Bokashi Composter Instructions and Reviews

A bokashi composter is a great addition to your composting arsenal. The Bokashi Method harnesses the ancient art of fermentation to help you create a "pickled" product that has a wide variety of farm and gardening applications. The creation of a humus-rich product is only one of these applications.



Before I get into the details of bokashi, please understand that this page will be very dynamic in nature. That is, it will be constantly evolving as I learn more about The Bokashi Method. I will also be posting an ongoing video log of the activity inside my bokashi composter itself. So if you're interested in this sort of thing, check back frequently for updates...

What is Bokashi?

Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning fermented organic matter. The method of breaking down wastes using fermentation grew out of a desire to increase the speed at which these materials broke down. Although bokashi composting has been practiced in Eastern cultures for centuries, the personal-sized bokashi units have only recently become popular in the West.

History of The Bokashi Method

Originally, Bokashi was made by layering food and agricultural wastes with microbe-rich soils. These layers were interlaced, creating a massive pile, and then this pile was allowed to ferment for several weeks. As chemical agriculture started to take hold in the early part of the 20th century, this method of composting fell out of favor. This was mainly due to the massive killing off of the soil microbes which were an integral part in The Bokashi Method.

Thankfully, a microbial inoculant product called Effective Microorganisms (EM-1) has since been developed and is now used in place of the soil layers in the above description. EM-1 is a liquid product of three groups of naturally occurring soil-based microbes: Yeast, Photosynthetic Bacteria, and Lactic Acid Bacteria. It has been said that EM-1 contains between 80-120 different microbial species.




How to Use a Bokashi Composter

bokashi composter

Using a bokashi compost unit is easy to do and is free of offensive odors when done properly.

Steps (taken directly from my bokashi unit)

  1. Place strainer on bottom of bucket.
  2. Sprinkle a generous layer of EM-1 Bokashi on the bottom of the bucket before adding any food wastes.
  3. Add food wastes, sprinkling EM-1 Bokashi on the food wastes.
  4. Close lid to keep airtight.
  5. Continue adding layers until the bucket is full.
  6. Push down with masher to compress.
  7. Drain liquid from spigot daily if present and discard down drain or dilute 1 teaspoon per gallon of water and feed plants.
  8. Once the bucket is full, keep the container closed and let the food waste pickle for 2 weeks. Drain liquid daily as above.



After a minimum of 2 weeks, here are some suggested uses for the contents:

  • Add the contents of the bucket to an existing garden bed or soil that needs amending. If you bury it in the ground, be sure to cover the fermented food wastes with at least 4-8 inches of soil.

  • Add the contents of the bucket to an existing worm bed

  • Add the contents of the bucket to animal feed

  • Dig into your compost pile and add the contents of the bucket to it. Cover with existing compost material.

Benefits of Bokashi

Below are a few benefits to using a bokashi kitchen composter. The list of benefits is ever-growing, however, I've limited it to five below.

  • Potted Plants - You can use the fermented food wastes to make microbe-rich potting soil. Ask us for details...

  • Compost - By using a bokashi kitchen composter, you will increase the rate at which you make high-quality compost outdoors.

  • Vermicompost - Your composting worms will thank you for using a bokashi composting system, since you're predigesting all of their food for them.

  • Natural Drano - You can use the liquid that you siphon from the composter to help keep your kitchen drains unclogged. The microbes in the liquid will help digest any food waste and grime built up in your pipes.

  • Livestock Feed - Chickens, Pigs, you name it, livestock love these fermented food wastes. I don't blame them because I'm a huge fan of fermented veggies (e.g. sauerkraut) myself.

Updates

The image below was taken 1 week after I added the first ingredients to my bokashi composter. Notice the white fungal masses growing on the purple beet pulp. I have opened the container 3-4 times in the last week to add scraps. Also, I have a feeling the fungi would be even more pronounced if I kept the ambient temperature in my house higher; however, I'm a frugal duck and like to limit my energy consumption whenever I can.

bokashi composter after 1 week

Update - March 28, 2012

The video below will conclude my video series on Bokashi composting for this page. I promise to post more about Bokashi and Effective Microorganisms (EM) in the near future, however, it will be on different pages. I hope you have enjoyed this video series and learning about the wonderful microbial benefits of composting bokashi-style!





If you haven't yet experienced the miracles of a bokashi composter, do yourself, your worms, your soils, your plants, your livestock, and even your drains a huge favor and order one today.

FULL DISCLOSURE - CompostJunkie.com is an affiliate of TeraGanix. In order to serve you better and continue to grow our Compost Tribe, I must generate some revenue in exchange for my efforts. Please support this site by purchasing your bokashi units through us.