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  • Writer's pictureCraig Alger


Updated: Jun 14, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

Food Waste Composting with Bokashi

What is Probiotic Bokashi Composting? It is the process of pickling/fermenting organic waste material. It is done in a specialized container by excluding oxygen with Rice/Wheat Bran inoculated with Probiotic Beneficial Microbes (PBM) that are added to the food scraps in the container. In the bucket, the “compost” is not finished and looks nothing like traditional black composting- that change happens when you complete the final step of burying the fermented food waste.

Why is Bokashi composting better? Compared to traditional composting there are several advantages to Bokashi composting and in laymen's term, it comes down to better nutrient retention in the final compost (higher nitrogen and other plant nutrients) and finally it is much faster and space efficient with less odor produced. Plus, you are saving and reutilizing the nutrients and energy you paid for when you bought the food and in turn reducing the load on the landfill and the water treatment plant in your community. It is a win–win

What food waste can I add to my bucket? Any food waste products! This includes meat, dairy, egg shells etc. What you compost can change the smell so adjust as you see fit. Bones will take years to break down in the soil but supply a real slow release source of calcium etc. Fruits and veggie scraps make sweeter smelling compost.

How should my bokashi composter smell? We all have different reactions to smells. When your Food Waste Bokashi Composting Bucket is working properly the food waste will be “fermenting” rather than “rotting”. When you open the bucket the smell more “pickled” or a bit sweet.

What should it look like? The color should be similar to the food waste you put in and then more towards light brown as the Bokashi does its work. You often see white mold on the surface – this is fine as it is the yeasts doing their thing. If you see black mold or dark green mold – try more bokashi and if that does not eliminate these molds then start over with a well rinsed bucket.

What happens when I bury it in the ground? Now you will begin to see the dark black “compost” within 2 or 4 weeks. The soil microbes very rapidly finish the job converting your fermented (anaerobically digested) organic waste to a dark nutrient rich and beautifully textured soil for your plants. Faster decomposition is observed at higher temperature. You can also mix it into your traditional compost pile.

What microbes are in Bokashi? Probiotic Beneficial Microbes (PBM)! These are beneficial microbes found in wine, yogurt and cheese. They are not harmful but beneficial to humans.

Is the Bokashi safe for my pets? Yes – even if they eat some of it.

What is the Bokashi Tea that I can drain from the bucket’s spigot? Bokashi Tea is a liquid full of beneficial microbes, enzymes, vitamins, organic acids and micro-nutrients from the bokashi composting process. Draw it off at least once per week.

How do I use the Bokashi Tea? It is best used diluted for plants (1 tablespoon per gallon of water) before applying it to foliage or as a soil drench. If you use a septic system or just want to help the city water treatment plant – pour it down the drain undiluted – the microbes will help your tank work well and help keep lines clear.

How should I store my Bokashi? Keep it out of the direct sun in a protected enclosure away from heat and moisture.

Where should I put the Probiotic Bokashi Composter? You should place the system where it is easy for you to use but out of direct sunlight. It is going to work best if kept at ambient temperature around 50-90F. If you keep it outdoors please keep it out of direct sunlight.

Why do I need two Bokashi Composters? When you fill the first system, the last added waste material is just beginning the fermentation process. It needs about 7 days to complete this process. You can be filling one while the other “finishes”. You can use a sealable five-gallon bucket for the “finishing” bucket but you lose the spigot for tea. Fill the bucket about half way with shredded plain paper to absorb the moisture. Do I have to worry about gases being produced during my fermentation process? No. Unlike traditional composting, no measurable methane and / or ammonia gases are being produced and you will not notice any bad odors. It is perfectly safe to operate in the home.

Do I have to tamp down the food scraps? No – it is an anaerobic process meaning without oxygen so tamping the food waste after you sprinkle on the bokashi helps but it is not critical.

How much bokashi is enough? Well since we sell Bokashi we could say use lots but you only need enough to keep the fermentation process going. Normally that is about 1/3 of a 2.2 lb. bag per bucket. Use enough to keep the process smelling sweet and pickled.

Need More Bokashi? You can order more Bokashi Brothers Bokashi on Amazon or on eBay.

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