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Eric Vinje

Wonderful to hear your enthusiasm for bokashi composting. Great questions.

I like to think of bokashi as the place where fermentation and composting meet. What makes the process so versatile is that the first stage of bokashi composting involves fermenting/pickling the food waste. Through the introduction of beneficial microbes, the food waste is naturally pickled (think pickled herring). The food waste changes in ph and does not putrefy or rot, but it is now stable and filled with beneficial microorganisms (think of how milk is changed into yoghurt through fermentation).

The beauty of the pickling process is that it allows you to bokashi all kinds of wastes. It can accommodate meat, dairy, fats and breads, vegetables and fruits. You can throw in newspaper, junk mail, hair, weeds and just about anything you want. You can chop everything up into little pieces for more uniform pickling in the first stage, but you don’t have to. It will speed up the second phase of decomposition in the soil. In the pickling phase you don’t need to balance green and brown materials. The first stage is simply pickling whatever you have gathered.

It is important in the initial bokashi fermentation phase that the waste is not too wet. For some reason, too much liquid can kill off the beneficial microbes. I like to add coffee grounds or a bit of newspaper to keep my bucket from being filled with water.

After the initial fermentation, the bokashied scraps can then be added to a compost pile or buried in the soil. I like to mix soil into the bokashi scraps so that the soil microorganisms can go to work. The smaller the pieces of bokashied scraps are, the more quickly the soil will be able to convert the pickle to microbial rich soil. Just be sure that you keep the scraps buried in the soil and not on the surface.

Currently I do not know of any online forums for bokashi, but I will be posting on the Bokashi Lotus Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BokashiLotus) and hope to develop that as a global bokashi community forum.