Bokashi is a Japanese method of composting that uses a mix of microorganisms to cover food waste while it ferments – reducing the smell of composting.
Bokashi is derived from the practice of Japanese farmers of covering food waste with soil containing the microorganisms that broke down the food waste. After a few weeks the covered food waste would be buried and after a few weeks it would become soil.
Bokashi composting uses microorganisms called Effective Microorganisms (EM1). It was first sold in the 1980s along with a sawdust or bran base that sticks to food.
Some more recent hybrids of this Bokashi Composting method, like the Urban Composter Bucket use Compost Accelerator Spray instead of bran.
Used at home, the requirements of a bokashi bucket are a tight sealing container, with a tap to be able to draw off excess moisture from the bucket during the fermentation process. The moisture, also known as compost tea, can be diluted with water and used as a nutrient rich fertiliser. Many organic food scraps can be composted in a bokashi bucket and the process of composting is quite simple.
Scraps should be cut up into small pieces before placing in the bucket. This ensures that the surface area of the food scraps is maximised. Compost Accelerator Spray or Bokashi Bran is added to the food scraps. Bran should cover the scraps in the bucket, or a light coating of Compost Accelerator spray over the scraps is required.
As the bucket begins to fill with scraps it should be compressed. This ensures that air pockets are reduced, increasing the ability of the Effective Microorganisms to ferment the scraps.
Every couple of days, excess moisture must be drained from the bucket using the tap. This can be diluted and added to the garden as a nutrient rich fertiliser.
Bokashi buckets and Bokashi brans are now readily available for use at home, a search for “bokashi composting” on Google will find many popular brands.