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