10 facts about Bokashi you should know. Why it has to be in every kitchen?

Bokashi-SeedItForward

Bokashi is a form of anaerobic fermentation used for pre-composting your food scraps, which then can be composted quickly and completely into nutrient-rich soil – humus.

Bokashi removes bad odours and allows treatment of a larger variety of food wastes than conventional composting: you can add small bones, small amounts of meat, oils and cooked food that usually would attract rats and insects to the composting pile.

The process of using Bokashi is quite simple, consisting of collecting food waste in a sealed container and adding a substrate inoculated with beneficial microorganisms. This substrate – “Bokashi bran” – can be bought or prepared at home from any carbon-rich material such as bran, sawdust, paper, etc. that was infused with bacteria and a source of sugars.

The microogranisms (EM-1) are commercial mixture of lactic acid bacteria, yeasts and purple non-sulfur bacteria. It is also quite possible to produce your substrate without using commercial ingredients, but you will be less sure of the bacteria composition – the lactic acid bacteria will most possibly prevail. 

You can buy a special Bokashi container, which can be hermetically sealed, has a double bottom and a spigot in order to drain the excess liquid. This liquid – “Bokashi juice” or “Bokashi tea” can be used as a fertiliser, when diluted. You can also construct a similar container at home, using two buckets of ~15 liters and a spigot, or even do without the latter.

Once the bucket is full you should leave it for two weeks or a bit more for fermentation. If the time was sufficient and the process has gone properly, the content of the bucket will have an odour of vinegar or yeasts and may have a bacterial film on the surface.

Finally, the products of fermentation can be transformed in fertile soil through several methods:

  1. dig a hole where you plan to plant something, add fermented food wastes and mix them with soil. In 2-3 weeks the enriched soil will be ready for planting.
  2. add the fermented remains directly into composting pile, or, little by little, to vermicompost.
  3. mix it 1: 1 with ordinary soil and leave the mixture in a closed, not necessarily airtight container. In a few weeks it will transform in a very fertile soil for your potted or garden plants.

Bokashi compost does not attract insects or rats and kills most of the pathogens due to high acidity (pH 3.5 4.5) during the fermentation process.

Bokashi does not produce any greenhouse gases. Traditional composting produces CO2, and if the process becomes anaerobic, also methane. However, bokashi fermentation does not result in CO2 and heat, and methane-producing bacteria do not survive in the acidic medium.

The process is very efficient – the fermentation needs around 1-2 weeks to complete, and after that, when you bury the fermentation product in soil (or just mix them together), it becomes soil in just two weeks.

You can find out even more about Bokashi here.

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