• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Bokashi Composting  RSS feed

 
Posts: 218
23
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We are finally rid of chickens and I am far too lazy to make compost piles or worm bins work well enough in our climate to efficiently absorb all of our houses kitchen waste. So I am embarking on another experiment to see if I can turn this steady waste stream into an asset. I have two 10 gallon, food grade, plastic buckets with rubber gaskets and clamping lids that get really airtight. The plan is to layer the bottom of each with several inches of bokashi (a fermented bran if I remember correctly, several garden stores near me make it and I bought 5 gallons for 40+$) and then empty our ~1 gallon sink side compost pail into the bucket every few days when it is full. I then cover the fresh waste (which includes anything that the dogs don't get, coffee grounds, veggie bits raw and coooked, congealed fats, yogurt bits, etc) with a handfull-ish more of bokashi. When one bucket is full I will tuck it away in the corner of the kitchen and fill the other. If they fill too fast for the process to happen I will probably just dump the first one into the compost pile or possibly start filling a 55 gallon barrell. My hope is that the bokashi organisms will devour the food waste fast enough and I will be able to pull finished bokashi out of the first when the second is full. Here's a picture of the first bucket after having the last pail of kitchen scraps and last handfull of bokashi added.

Has anyone else experimented with this technique? Can you use the finished bokashi to eat another tub of scraps?
full-bokashi-bucket.jpg
[Thumbnail for full-bokashi-bucket.jpg]
you can even see some of the white mold moving in along the edges
 
stephen lowe
Posts: 218
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I finally filled both of the 10 gallon buckets with kitchen scraps, apparently it takes about a month to fill one. So I opened up the first one so that I could empty it and see where it had gotten to. Basically it was far from completely composted, but it had broken down a lot. The smell was a bit on the sickly side of sweet, but by no means putrid or disgusting. I ended up opting to dump the contents into a 45 gallon barrel where I will collect buckets for a few months and see if the bokashi continues to 'eat' the scraps or if I am just delaying actually composting this stuff. My main observation was that I think I need to make some sort of drainage because it seems like too much liquid is building up so that the bottom of the barrels is not doing well and probably contributing any bad smells.
bokashi-bucket-after-one-month.jpg
[Thumbnail for bokashi-bucket-after-one-month.jpg]
Just opened and you can see the heavy colonization (white stuff) on top
settled-bokashi.jpg
[Thumbnail for settled-bokashi.jpg]
With the angle view you can see how much the stuff settled, it was to the brim when it was closed up
 
Posts: 7
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My understanding of this type of composting (which I have used to spectacular result) is that you don't need to see it looking broken down; after two weeks of composting, you can bury the compost into your beds to amend the soil. it won't look like ready soil, but it is fermented to a degree that it operates very differently from regular compost. I have seen my soil go from hard-packed clay to fluffy soil growing giant potatoes with one application of this method. I dig the bokashi into the soil two weeks before planting. I have used this for perennial and annual beds, and also for sandy and clay beds. In both cases, the soil receives an incredible health benefit. the reason you want to wait two weeks before planting (after digging in the compost) is that there is come acidifying effect, but it resolves itself.

It may be that none of this sounds correct to the scientists and technicians on this board, but this is what I was told by my bokashi-dealer and it has worked amazingly well for me.

For the moisture problem: yes, I use a two-layer bucket system with holes punched into the top bucket, and a drainage spigot- and I feed my beds with the compost liquid drained off.
 
Hilde Alden
Posts: 7
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You're looking for a sour-pungent smell, maybe slightly alcoholic but never sceptic. To me, it always smells somewhat like kimchi. My understanding is that for optimal use, you use the compost after only two weeks fermenting in the bucket. I usually store my foodscraps, then assemble garden waste, etc, enough to fill a bucket, layer it with the bokashi and set the bucket to ferment all in one go, then take it out and bury it in my garden in exactly two weeks.
 
stephen lowe
Posts: 218
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
ah thanks for the tips both of you. I didn't mention this in the first post but my entire knowledge base for this experiment came from reading the back of a book in the grocery store so I am sure I have a lot to learn. The smell was not quite sour-pungent, maybe more sweet-pungent, possibly with that alcoholic tint. Certainly far from septic. Do you guys do anything to drain off excess liquid? That is the main issue I observed after opening my first bucket, it was surprisingly wet. Also, do you think it would benefit anything to add this to my very slow continual compost pile? It is basically green waste from our yard and some neighbors yards that just keeps getting layered with moldy straw/hay that I try to get in bulk from local farmers. I usually just let it build up and it composts down and then once a year or so I spread it around the garden. Or do you think just putting it straight into the soil is the way to go?
Also, do you think I am just wasting time/making a mess by putting into a larger container to sit for longer? thanks for the insights.
 
garden master
Posts: 4474
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
481
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting purity
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Hilde Alden wrote:My understanding of this type of composting (which I have used to spectacular result) is that you don't need to see it looking broken down; after two weeks of composting, you can bury the compost into your beds to amend the soil. it won't look like ready soil, but it is fermented to a degree that it operates very differently from regular compost. I have seen my soil go from hard-packed clay to fluffy soil growing giant potatoes with one application of this method. I dig the bokashi into the soil two weeks before planting. I have used this for perennial and annual beds, and also for sandy and clay beds. In both cases, the soil receives an incredible health benefit. the reason you want to wait two weeks before planting (after digging in the compost) is that there is come acidifying effect, but it resolves itself.

It may be that none of this sounds correct to the scientists and technicians on this board, but this is what I was told by my bokashi-dealer and it has worked amazingly well for me.

For the moisture problem: yes, I use a two-layer bucket system with holes punched into the top bucket, and a drainage spigot- and I feed my beds with the compost liquid drained off.



That sounds exactly right Hilde, I like the two layer bucket system myself (same as a worm bin setup). Yes indeed, the liquid is just as potent as the compost material.
If you also have a "standard" compost heap, you can use some of the liquid as a booster infusion of microbes to the compost heap or add some to a brewing compost tea and that too will be boosted in organism counts.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 4474
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
481
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can do a twice fermented system Stephen, no worries there.
When doing a double ferment you might want to make some addition in the second fermenter setup.
For excess liquid (it comes from the vegetable and other plant materials giving up their water) just set up like Hilde said, double bucket system.

Redhawk
 
stephen lowe
Posts: 218
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you guys for the input. I will probably go with the double ferment for now, just for my own amusement and experience.
 
pollinator
Posts: 196
Location: wanderer
40
bike fungi tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Very interesting method. Thank you for sharing; perfect timing for me too as I have been looking to add another small-scale system for my scraps.
After reading this thread & doing a bit of searching, I found a couple of things that you all may find interesting & I'd love to hear what you think about them:
The Compostess, Rebecca Louie, teaches that one can easily make large quantities of their own Bokashi "starter" mix on the cheap with EM-1, wheat bran, & molasses. Check out her recipe at: https://thecompostess.com/2015/04/22/how-to-make-bokashi/
Also, Robert Pavlis has an interesting spin he calls The Instant Soil Factory:
"Take your Bokashi ferment and homogenize it in a blender to make a smoothy out of it. Then pour it into the soil. Mix it up and you are done. Instant fortified soil with no waiting period.
The ferment homogenizes very easily in the blender since the food scraps are already mushy and contain a lot of water.
You can also replace the soil with coir and produce a product free of insects and plant diseases. The coir is quite dry and easily absorbs all of the liquid in the ferment. The result is a fairly dry, soil-less mix that has no odor. The ferment will continue to decompose over time and help feed plants. I call this new method the Instant Soil Factory." - https://www.gardenmyths.com/soil-factory-using-bokashi-ferment/
Robert also advocates referring to the Bokashi method as Bokashi fermenting, which -according to him- is a more accurate description of the process than "composting".
BOKASHI-DIY_starter-EM-1-_wheat_bran-_molasses-_TheCompostess.com.jpg
[Thumbnail for BOKASHI-DIY_starter-EM-1-_wheat_bran-_molasses-_TheCompostess.com.jpg]
Bokashi DIY starter: EM-1, wheat bran, molasses - TheCompostess.com
 
Hilde Alden
Posts: 7
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, I completely agree, it is fermenting, not composting!

Also, I dont' usually use bokashi, I use straight expanded EM in the sprayer, and I stretch my EM by expanding it on itself for several months. I spray a heavy dose of EM every couple of inches of packed food. This works very well, in terms of how the food scraps are fermented, though is less elegant than bokashi.
 
Loxley Clovis
pollinator
Posts: 196
Location: wanderer
40
bike fungi tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Hilde Alden wrote:Also, I dont' usually use bokashi, I use straight expanded EM in the sprayer, and I stretch my EM by expanding it on itself for several months. I spray a heavy dose of EM every couple of inches of packed food. This works very well, in terms of how the food scraps are fermented, though is less elegant than bokashi.


Cool! Mind sharing your recipe?
 
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!