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.

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Comment by Barbara karl on November 9, 2010 at 3:15pm
I am an excited Bokashi user. I picked up a bucket and my first lot of Bokashi maize 5 weeks ago. It has taken me that long to fill my first bucket (it holds plenty). We are just in a small townhouse and have a barked garden (2 metres by 5 metres) so was able to dig in my first bucketful.
It never had a smell and draining off the juice has been wonderful for watering the plants around.
****I have a thought***** the people that are receiving the Oooby Boxes may consider having a Bokashi box at their home, and could trade it in for the people growing the vege. That way they are making a positive contribution back into the Oooby family.
Comment by Megan on December 8, 2009 at 6:36pm
Hello Hester, have taken the liberty of linking your bokashi blog to a new group on Bokashi!
Comment by Yvonne Nikolaison on December 2, 2009 at 9:34am
Like everyone else I hadn't heard of this compost system either, but sounds rather interesting. Look forward to hearing your results Hester.
Comment by Pamela Morrison on October 19, 2009 at 8:36pm
I hope you get really good results for your home built Bokashi. Good luck.
Comment by Hester on October 18, 2009 at 8:22pm
This is an explanation of the Bokashi culture from Wikipedia
'Bokashi is a method of intensive composting. It can use an aerobic or anaerobic inoculation to produce the compost. Once a starter culture is made, it can be re-used, like yogurt culture. Since the popular introduction of effective microorganisms (EM), Bokashi is commonly made with only molasses, water, EM, and wheat bran.
However, Bokashi can be made by inoculating any organic matter with a variety of hosts of beneficial bacteria/microbes. This includes manures, spent mushroom compost, mushroom spores, worm-casting tea, forest soil tea, yeast, pickles, sake, miso, natto, wine and beer. Molasses feeds the microbial cultures as they inoculate the organic matter. This usually takes the form of a carrier, such as rice hulls, wheat bran or saw dust, that has been inoculated with composting micro-organisms. The EM are natural lactic acid bacteria, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria that act as a microbe community within the kitchen scraps, fermenting and accelerating breakdown of the organic matter. The user continues to place alternating layers of food scraps and Bokashi EM until the container is full.'
The benefits of adding the EM to the compost bucket of kitchen scraps are, that it produces a fermentation effect, and the food does not rot and smell bad.
The fermented scraps will break down much more quickly than untreated scraps, once they are buried in the soil or added to your compost heap/bin.
They condition the soil with beneficial microbes, provide a source of nutrients for plant growth and assist the composting process.
The Bokashi juice is acidic so needs to be diluted 1:100 parts before being used to feed plants.
Comment by Lynda Wood on October 18, 2009 at 7:08pm
this system sounds interesting, taking compost tea a step (or two!) further, can you explain what the bokashi additive is, and the benefits of addding them, and fermentation benefits also
Comment by Hester on October 1, 2009 at 11:05am
That's encouraging. I'm already noticing that the plants watered with the liquid Bokashi mixture are looking good.Very healthy and growing well.Peas in a container producing merrily. Just have to be careful not to use too strong on very new seedlings.
Comment by Linda Lucas on October 1, 2009 at 10:20am
I am just learning to do this method of composting and have meet a wonderful teacher. it will be a work in progress as my husband tony andI learn aout it. We came across this method because of purchasing raspberry canes on theinternet. The person we got the canes from has an amazing garden and this was part of his gardening maintance plan.

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