I have been wanting to compost for many years. I never really knew that much about it but knew that I hated how much food waste we produced and wanted to figure out how to reduce this. I wanted my husband to build us a compost bin but didn’t think that inside our backyard fence was a good idea because it would stink and our dog, Mina, would be all up in it. So I thought maybe outside our fence. I am sure it would offend some neighbors and break some sort of HOA rule and attract some wildlife that might cause a ripple. Then I thought maybe a tumbler, I was going to surprise my husband with one for Christmas one year and tried to get him to tell me which one he might want…never happened. Then I learned about worm composting. It works much faster (2-3 months vs. a yearish) it is contained, yadah, yadah, but what if you kill the little suckers, too much pressure.
Then by accident I found out about Bokashi! It is inexpensive, self contained, user friendly, and doesn’t really stink…until it is done! I am performing a test and am hoping that this is the one! It is the coolest thing I have come across and is super easy. Also, it can be done year round and just about anywhere. Since I had been waiting and waiting for a compost solution I just started collecting our compostable materials in a 5 gallon bucket and taking it to Dekalb Farmer’s Market and adding it to there “teaching” compost (I also know that community gardens usually accept outside compost as well as The Atlanta Botanical Gardens). Bokashi composting is actually done in a bucket, although one with a spigot is recommended it is not necessary. All you need is a bucket, food scraps, and bokashi. Which is wheat or rice bran that has been inoculated with micro organisms that ferment organic waste. Perfect, it was like it was meant to be, I already had my buckets, lots of food waste, all I needed was the bokashi itself. Farmer D carries it if you are in the Atlanta area and if not, you can order it online.
I started this a few months ago and have been making progress. I have completed 3 buckets of bokashi compost and they are all in the ground doing their last phase of transformation. Can’t wait to see how much it improves our soil!
Step 1: get a 5 gallon bucket, a bag of Bokashi (about $14), a ruler, a potato masher, some wax paper, and a plate.
Step 2: Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of Bokashi in the bottom of the empty bucket.
Step 3: Layer in 2-3 inches worth of food scraps, egg shells, paper towels, coffee grounds, you can even compost meat and dairy with this method.
Step 4: Sprinkle on another 2 tablespoons Bokashi and add another 2-3 inch layer of food scraps.
Step 5: Continue this layering and sprinkling. Between the layers press down with a potato masher. As you continue the process, keep a layer of wax paper on the top with a plate or cardboard to extract and protect from air. Keep the lid on at all times.
Step 6: During the process, every 3 days you need to drain the bucket of the collected juices. If your bucket has a spigot, no brainer. Mine doesn’t so I just pressed a dinner plate on the top and tipped it over in my sink and let it drain into a jar while holding the plate in place. STOP. Don’t get rid of this liquid! It is valuable too…a “tea” if you will. You can use it diluted as a topical fertilizer for plants, flowers, soil, etc. It will even clear slow running drains when used down the sink at full tilt.
Step 7: Once your bucket is full, drain, top with lid and let her rest (ferment) for 2 weeks.
Step 8: After the 2 week nap, you will need to do 1 of a few things with your Bokashi compost. Drain again and…
A. Bury it a minimum of 6 inches deep in the garden…but don’t let plant roots come in contact with raw Bokashi, allow it to age a bit (about 2 more weeks) in the soil.
B. Add it to existing compost
C. Put in bottom of raised bed or plater pots, then 12 inch layer of soil then plant.
D. Mix it directly in the dirt where you want to plant but allow another 2 weeks of aging before you plant in that dirt.
Step 9: Do it again! I have more than 1 bucket so that I can continue this process. 3 is ideal.
Farmer D Organics Garden Center:
Just do Google search for Bokashi and several places to but it pop up!