Bokashi Composting – Comprehensive Guide

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In Brief: Bokashi Composting – Comprehensive Guide

Bokashi composting is an accelerated compost production technique. It is great to use in your garden, whether you grow fruits, vegetables, or flowers and plants, bokashi composting is a great way to go. In this guide, you will discover how to create bokashi compost and the precautions you need to take to achieve perfect results.

There are several composting methods out there, but bokashi is quite unique, and it’s the only method that provides the full enrichment the soil deserves.

In this guide, we will be taking a detailed look at creating compost with this technique.

What is Bokashi Composting Method

Bokashi is a type of composting method that takes some special materials and techniques to pull off.

It’s a method that originated in Asia and has slowly become a practice among gardeners all over the world.

How Does This Method Work

Bokashi composting is similar to other composting methods. With this method, what you need are kitchen scraps such as meat, vegetables, and other dairy products lined up in a sealed bucket and mixed with bran.

The bran is spread at the top of the mixture and allowed to decompose for a few days.

In practice, other composting methods will take weeks, but bokashi requires just 10 days for the results to become visible.

When Does Bokashi Work Well

You can use bokashi compost the same way you use other composts. Most of the time, this compost works best in areas where the soil lacks nutrients, especially after a large harvest.

It can also reduce the amount of nitrogen in the soil, thereby balancing its level of alkalinity.

In some cases, the bokashi compost can function as a soil conditioner. And when this happens, its primary function is to help the soil trap essential elements such as air, water, and minerals.

Lastly, it introduces helpful microorganisms into the soil to eliminate harmful ones.

History of Bokashi Composting

The first set of gardeners to practice this method was from Japan. And what they usually do was to bury their kitchen wastes into the soil and allow them to decompose in the open, naturally.

This was done to replenish soil nutrients and was effective to some extent.

However, this art was carefully examined by Teruo Higa of Japan, who reasoned that the technique was introducing more acid than required into the soil.

Hence, the need for an alternative.

To that effect, bokashi composting was created under the trademark “Effective Microorganism” in 1982.

With bokashi composting, a helpful microbe is introduced to the soil while the amount of acid going in is minimized.

How To Use Bokashi Composting

Bokashi composting involves a lot of procedures in terms of the materials that need to be assembled.

However, it requires no effort afterward. Below we take a detailed look at how to create a bokashi compost.

1. Get Tightly Sealed Basket

To get started with this composting technique, you need a bucket with a lid that can be tightly sealed.

There are custom buckets for bokashi, but you can easily transform your bin into what looks like a bucket by installing stoppers at the bottom of the bin.

With a custom bokashi bucket, you get a spigot for draining excess liquid that builds up in the bucket through the period of decomposition.

This liquid is said to be high in acid; hence adding them to the soil will skyrocket its alkaline level, making them unsafe for certain kinds of plants.

2. Gather Kitchen Scraps

There’s no custom list of waste you can throw into the bucket. The rule is to go for fresh and organic wastes, especially those that microorganisms are likely to feed on.

The rule of thumb and popular practice among gardeners is to include products such as cheese, vegetables, and oil.

Remember, you will need a bit of moisture and heat to create this type of compost or anyone at all. However, most gardeners advise you to crop out any vegetable high in moisture from the waste.

Gardeners that use this method reportedly eliminate vegetables such as onion when composting.

3. Introduce Bokashi Bran

Before adding this, be sure you already have the first two materials in place. Once you do, line up the scrap in the bucket in no particular order.

Next, introduce your bran into the scraps in the bucket to commence decomposition. For the bran, it’s ideal to opt for professionally made bokashi bran.

However, if you can’t lay your hands on it, you can find an alternative in an anaerobic inoculant. These inoculants are made from certain recipes.

No matter how accurate the inoculant is, it can’t create the same effect as custom-made bran. This is because it will be difficult to identify the right amount of mixture that would work in your bucket.

Watch this video to find out how to create your own home-made inoculant:

4. Draining Fluid

The waste has to stay in the bucket for a minimum of 10 days to get properly decomposed. You’re sure your compost is ready when you find the waste covered in a white slimy substance.

However, while the compost is still lying in the bucket, some fluid needs to be drawn off daily.

Some experts suggest this fluid is acidic and might be harmful to the soil and certain plants. On the flip side, the liquid can help in cleaning pipes.

The first phase of the bokashi composting technique can be completed in 2 weeks, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to feed the compost into your garden.

The compost produced during the first phase is highly acidic, and they need to be cured before it can come in direct contact with any plant.

Maintenance Tips

All composting methods are anaerobic. Hence, the process needs to be oxygen-free. We’ve mentioned it earlier that you won’t need to do a lot other than pile waste into the bucket.

However, you need to eliminate any oxygen in the bucket.

To do this, you will need to use a flat plate to compress the waste to eliminate the air pocket, in case you wish to add new waste to existing ones.

Also, the compost is likely to produce some foul smell while it’s decomposed in the bucket. Drawing off those excess liquids provides the stability the microorganisms need to thrive.

Troubleshooting Tips

The smell of bokashi compost is different from that produced in other composting methods. It’s trickier to identify if you are a first-timer.

But if the compost’s odor becomes unbearable, adding more bran would minimize it.

However, if the odor grows stronger after this, it’s an indication that something has gone wrong.

In this case, the only way out is to pour out the waste, scrub the bucket, and start all over.

How To Make The Compost Safe For Use

Because the bokashi mixture is fermented doesn’t mean it’s ready to be thrown into the garden. The first phase of decomposing, which takes 10 days, is merely the end of the fermentation or “pre compost” phase.

Experts warn that it shouldn’t be allowed to touch any plant root at this point.

The only way to transform the “pre compost” into healthy compost you can use on your farmyard is to bury it under a compost pile to reduce its acidity.

You can watch this video to have a clear idea of how to do this:


Benefits of Bokashi Composting

You might feel a bit discouraged at learning that you have to throw the compost under a compost heap after using the bokashi technique.

If you think about it, it’s a bit pointless since you could create everything with a compost heap in the first place.

However, the benefit the bokashi technique has is that the materials you decompose in a bokashi bin would normally take months to ferment with other outdoor compost methods.

Also, the bokashi method produces the highest level of soil nutrients, and it isn’t expensive to assemble.


Can the Waste Stay In the Bin For more than 10 days?

There’s no designated time frame for the waste to become fermented. The 10 days period is the benchmark. It could be more for some people. You will know if your compost is ready when the waste is covered in white fluffy mold.

What should I do If Compost Smells?

If the compost smells, it’s an indication that the moisture level is high. You will have to drain off the fluids in the bucket.


Bokashi composting is cost-free and easy to set up. If you like, you can use professional or DIY bran. Nevertheless, ensure you keep a watchful eye on the waste while they decompose in the bokashi bin.