How to bokashiWiebke Venter
Waste smells, it really does. But why? Mostly because of biodegradable items from plants and animals such as food waste. When Leon and I moved together, we wanted to get rid of this.
We now separate the recyclables and the non-recyclables for the eco bricks. Before we put it in our separate bins, we wash everything dirty recyclables cannot be recycled or go into the eco-bricks.
After this, all that is left is the food waste itself. We were thinking about composting but there were some reasons that did not allow us to do that – like the lack of space for a huge compost heap. Then we found the bokashi system: The online ad promised it is quick, simple and easy as well as for indoors. We were like “Hey, that sounds interesting, let´s try that!”. Now, our entire food waste goes into that bin, it doesn’t smell and we have nice and fertile bokashi juice for our garden.
What is Bokashi?
Bokashi is a process that converts food waste and similar organic matter into a soil amendment, which adds nutrients and improves soil texture. It differs from traditional composting methods in several respects.
The most important are:
The input matter is fermented by specialist bacteria, not decomposed.
• fermented matter is fed directly to field or garden soil, without requiring further time to mature.
• As a result, virtually all input carbon, energy and nutrients enter the soil food web, having been neither emitted in greenhouse gases and heat nor leached out.
It makes composting quicker, simpler and so much easier on the nose! Say goodbye to the old, smelly compost heap at the bottom of the garden.
How does the bokashi process work?
Because we are so enthusiastic about that system, we would like to share how we handle our bokashi system. Here is how it works for us in a two-person household:
1. The food waste we are collect during the day goes into a small bin in the kitchen. We put everything in there: dairies, cooked leftovers, meat, bones, avocado pits, banana peels… Only with malty things, you need to be a little bit careful because it can kill the microbes.
2. Every two or three days this food waste goes into the 25 L Food waste Digester – the Bokashi Bin. The airtight bin can be used indoors, which makes it ideal for properties with limited space. We just press the waste down, so that there is as less air in between the single items as possible. Then we sprinkle the bokashi bran over it and close it. It takes us round about 1,5-2 months to fill that bucket in our 2-person-household. It also depends on how much vegetables you consume, but ideally, it is a lot ;)
3. From time to time you need to drain the fertile bokashi juice (beware: this is indeed a little smelly). In our first bucket were 1,5 L of bokashi juice!! You can use this juice to fertilize your indoor plants or your garden, as well for cleaning your drains. We store the juice in an old washing liquid bin. Make sure you use it right away, that is when it is the most nutritious.
4. Once the bucket is full, you need to let it ferment for at least two weeks. For the time the bucket is fermenting, we have a second bucket to fill, so we can swap around.
5. After the two weeks you can put the bokashi earth into a compost heap or just dig it in your garden. We can dig it in our parent’s garden. Sometimes farms like to take the bokashi earth to fertilize their fields or vegetable gardens. You can also feed it to a worm farm. We currently have a worm farm, but they are quite sensitive so it needs a little bit of time to introduce them to the bokashi food. Once the worms processed the bokashi mixture it becomes nice fertile soil for gardening.
We personally are looking forward to soon be able to fertilize our planter boxes in our little garden and feed the food waste back to the earth were it came from. We hope a lot of you will start a similar process and make the best of the food waste that you have. Because it is not really waste.
Please let us know should you have any questions in the comments below or share your bokashi experience!