Early last fall, when I pulled out the summer garden, I tilled and then added bought compost. Immediately, I planted the fall garden. Most of the broccoli fell in the composted area but I had a couple extra plants that were outside the amended soil. The difference in the plants was dramatic and shocking! The weaker plants were still in my garden that has been worked for years but didn't have fresh compost. It was the latest in a series of messages I had been receiving that soil is the key - the key to the health of my plants and ultimately the key to my health - really our health as a planet. I suppose that seems obvious but for years I had just been caring for my plants, loving them, taking wonderful care of them but I never had that connection with the soil. I knew that was my next area of exploration.

As a passive composter for years, I knew I wanted to step it up. I had been frustrated in the past with balancing my desire to reduce waste and have compost but to also juggle a busy schedule and family. I also don't like smells and rotting food. So I was stuck. Then a friend said the magic word...BOKASHI.

I started researching right away and she and I fed off of each other's excitement. It really looked like the answer. So last fall we both jumped in, got our bins and started bokashi composting. We have never looked back. It is AMAZING!!!!!

Bokashi composting allows you to compost ALL food waste - cooked food, dairy, meat, bones, anything! And it does it without any odor.

Bokashi is a Japanese word meaning, fermented organic matter. Being close friends with Pat, you can imagine that I already have a love of microbials and understand their benefits. I loved that this method used those same principles.

The other wonderful part of bokashi composting is that it produces rich wonderful compost in 6-8 weeks. That is unheard of in the regular composting, which is, at it's fastest, around 4-6 months.

We are a family of 4, eating almost all of our meals at home. Since switching to this method we are taking one kitchen bag, that isn't even full to the curb each week. It's light and it doesn't smell at all! And our food scraps are working for us to improve our soil.

I'll give a basic description of our process.

We have a bin in our kitchen area. These bins are meant to fit under the sink but that didn't work for me. Luckily, they are attractive enough to sit out. My bin There are cheaper ways but I decided to go with this for aesthetic reasons.

We have a ceramic jar on the counter and will use that through-out the day to collect scraps. We put food in the bokashi bin once or twice a day. When we add food to the bin, we sprinkle a bit of bokashi on top, cover with a plate and seal the bin. We will fill that bin in about 10-14 days.

When the bin is full, it needs to sit for 14 days, to fully ferment. This necessitates having a second bin or having a 5 gallon bucket to transfer into.

After the final ferment, we just bury the bucket contents in the soil. 6-8 weeks later, we have amazing compost. Here is a video showing that. You can also add it to a traditional compost pile. It would be considered a 'green' component and would heat up a compost pile.

Making your own bokashi is the easiest and cheapest way to make this method work. Purchasing pre-made would become expensive. This is the method we used to make our own. After making the mixture, it will need to ferment for several weeks. After that, you can dry it and it will last for years. I just dried mine outside on some plastic. It was really easy and we made it with some children who had a blast!! You can use the bokashi in septic systems, as cat litter and as chicken feed. Truly amazing stuff :)

We are so excited about using this system. Not only have we eliminated all of our food waste but we are creating lots of compost to be used in my garden and around the yard.

Here is a wiki article on bokashi.

I really do encourage anyone to try it. It's so easy and it just feels great!

~Anna



Views: 992

Comment by Missy Willis on March 12, 2010 at 5:03pm
Thanks for posting this! I'm finally going to get on ours. I clicked on the "method" in your post and it took me to youtube, but not to a bokashi video--some other funky stuff instead! LOL.
Comment by Anna on March 12, 2010 at 5:46pm
I think I fixed the links. Here is the one for making your own, just in case.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96fSXccQx9Q

I've been meaning to talk to you, I'm taking the Master Composter class now want to talk to you about local projects. You'd love it!!

~Anna
Comment by Gilla Weiss on March 21, 2010 at 1:41am
I think this could be the solution for us too!! I would also like to make my own bokashi asn watched the youtube but he doesn't share what the microbial solution is made from. Can you share exactly how you make it please? and also do I need to purchase those exact bins or can I use regular plastic bins like the ones used as garbage bins with a lid?
thanks
Gilla
Comment by Anna on March 21, 2010 at 9:44am
I think he is making his own microbial blend. There is some controversy about that. I purchased EM-1 (effective microorganisms).
http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.471963/sc.2/category.48/.f
It seems expensive but you only need a 1/2 cup for a 25 lb bag of wheat bran - which looks like it will last me about 6 months. I calculated my cost and for a six month supply it was around $13. So that worked for me.

You can make your own bin. I have heard of people using 5 gallon buckets but I think you would need something that allows liquid to separate at the bottom. I would google making your own bin. If I find anything later I'll post it.

Good luck! ~Anna
Comment by Anna on March 21, 2010 at 10:40am
Here is a link about making your own bin.

http://organicgardening.about.com/b/2008/12/11/og-tip-of-the-day-ma...

~Anna
Comment by Missy Willis on March 21, 2010 at 1:53pm
We are in the process of making our own buckets. We got two 5 gallon buckets at Lowes (with the Lowes logo on it--cheaper ones) and 2 lids. We are going to use a colandar we already have to help screen/separate the liquid from solids. My handy husband is inserting a spout into the bucket so we can drain the liquid (compost tea). We may have to modify once we try this out for a little bit, but I'm hopeful it will do exactly what we need!
Comment by Gilla Weiss on March 21, 2010 at 7:33pm
wow, that is so cool :)
I think I will order one first to get started and then go from there. this is so exciting! I can't wait to start :)
Comment by Pat Robinson on August 12, 2011 at 1:25pm
Comment by KerryAnn Cobb Foster on August 12, 2011 at 2:41pm
Using wheat in my garden is absolutely out, as 3 of the four members of my family are celiac.  I wonder if  I could use rice bran instead?
Comment by Anna on August 12, 2011 at 2:59pm

Yes, you can use rice bran.   

~Anna

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