Making compost right at home is an easy way to get rid of kitchen scraps. Plus, it adds fertility to your garden and keeps our landfills from piling up too fast. However, everyone that composts at home knows what a pain it is to sort out food scraps every day to ensure only fruit and vegetable-based foods make it in the bucket. What should you do with your extra dairy products and meat scraps? With a regular compost system, the only answer is the trash can.
For this reason, composting with bokashi changes everything you thought you knew about making compost at home. Not truly a composter? Bokashi buckets actually ferment your food scraps instead, filling them with beneficial anaerobic microbes and helping them break it down.
Once you start to break down your scraps the bokashi bucket way, there’s usually no going back to your boring old bin.
History of Bokashi
For centuries, farmers in Asian countries have collected and fermented their food scraps as a highly beneficial (and cheap!) soil amendment. The method started by farmers adding food scraps directly to the soil and depending on the natural microbes within the soil to break them down and ferment them. After several weeks of fermentation pass, scoop up the scraps, mix them with soil and use for garden enrichment.
The bokashi method was practiced largely without change. That was until Japanese Professor Teruo Higa’s led to the discovery of the proper technique and ratio of microbes that was most efficient for producing pickling-like results for food scraps.
Today, you can use a bokashi bucket to efficiently make your own fermented compost scraps. Most commercially produced buckets have a false bottom floor for keeping the moisture (called leachate) away from the food scraps. Some even have a spigot for draining the leachate away. This makes it easier to get the conditions exactly right in order to have the highest quality end result.
How It Works
Bokashi buckets work because of the anaerobic process that the food scraps go through. This excludes air from the decomposition process. This is because it causes the microorganisms to pickle the food scraps instead of fully break them down through decomposition. The volume of the material goes down as the waste moisture drains out of the bottom through the spigot.
When bokashi compost ends up in your garden, plants are easily able to extract the nutrient content out of it. Additionally, the added microbes help renew the soil and maintain higher levels of soil biodiversity.