I've been learning how to make Bokashi compost.
I have had a compost bucket in the kitchen for as long as I can remember. One of the childhood jobs was to take the bucket down to the compost heap and empty it there.
Recently I attended a workshop and learnt about Bokashi. Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning fermented organic matter.In New Zealand it has been developed into an easy to use system and promoted by Neville Burt of Bokashi New Zealand.
It's a way of optimising the product from my compost bucket.The Bokashi process speeds up the rate of decomposition of organic waste, while reducing odour. It also generates a liquid that can be used to make plant food.
I had heard of Bokashi but didn't know a lot about it .The cost of buying the bucket system was off-putting to me.
After seeing a demonstration by Marion, from the Hawkes Bay Environment Centre, I realised it was avery simple system and that I already had some of the components .
I have two 10 litre lidded buckets that have been my compost buckets for a few years. I realised they could be used as part of a Bokashi system. I bought 2 more buckets, conveniently availiable in a 9 litre size from The Plastic Box, where you can also buy the 10 litre buckets and lids.
I asked my husband to drill some holes in the bottom of the larger buckets and then fitted them inside the smaller buckets.
That gave me two Bokashi buckets.
I bought a bag of Bokashi zing,which costs $8 and lasts for ages.You can find out where it is stocked in your area by checking www.bokashi.co.nz
To use the Bokashi system I put my organic kitchen waste in the bucket as usual but I layer it with sprinklings of Bokashi Zing. This is what contains the beneficial bacteria that activates the Bokashi composting system and keeps it sweet smelling..
Each layer is packed down to push out air-I use a cheap potato masher. You only need about a tablespoon of Zing
for each sprinkle.
I've found that it takes a lot longer to fill the bucket.Our first bucket had been filling for about 2 weeks where normally it would be full in a week.
After a few days liquid collects in the base bucket. This is drained off.I put it in a re-cycled plastic jar with a lid.
The juice should be used within a day or two.
Today I diluted it-2 tablespoons to 5 litres of water-in a bucket and used the resulting liquid to water my seedlings and other plants.
The liquid can also be diluted further 1-2 teaspoons to 5 litres of water and used as a foliar feed,or undiluted it can be poured down drains to keep them sweet smelling.
My full Bokashi bucket will now be left in a warm place, out of direct sunlight for 10 to 14 days. When it smells like pickles I will bury it in an empty garden bed and leave it for about a week to 10 days . After this I will plant up the bed and the soil will be fed.
The fermented waste can also be buried around the drip line of trees to feed them. Or add it to your compost bin with a layer of brown material on top.
I'm really excited about the Boksahi system .I'm looking foward to seeing the beneficial effects on the plants being fed and the soil in my garden.