Compost in a bucket: How to use a Bokashi

Rotting apples

If you don’t have a garden or other outdoor area of your own, it can be difficult to compost your organic waste. Fortunately, there are options for indoor composting. Let’s take a closer look at one of them: the Japanese Bokashi.

Three waste Baskets in green, red and yellow.
Photo: Not everyone has waste recycling that includes compost. Photo: Nareeta Martin I Unsplash

Bokashi means “fermented organic matter”. Bokashi composting works with an anaerobic – without air – process that works with the help of effective microorganisms. For it to work you need a Bokashi bucked, inoculated bran and kitchen waste to ferment into a safe soil builder and nutrient-rich fluid as fertilizer for your plants.

To fill it, you mix kitchen waste with some of the inoculated bran and press it into the Bokashi bucket. Then you cover the mixture with another handful of bran and close the bucked. When the Bokashi is full, you seal it shut and set it aside for ten to twelve days.

Composting indoors with a Bokashi

As said above, the fluid can be used as fertilizer and the solid mixture can be mixed with soil for plants. However, in the beginning, the solid mixture is still a little bit acidic and should not come into direct contact with plant roots. After two to four weeks, this is no longer an issue. Next to only using little space in your kitchen, the Bokashi also doesn’t smell like normal rotting organic waste. It smells a little bit like sauerkraut. Using effective microorganisms is also helpful for your plants: it’s good for their immune system and helps them grow.

A Bokashi is easy to maintain all year long

What is also nice is that you can use the Bokashi all year round which is especially nice in winter when you don’t have to take a trip outside in the cold to get to your compost. You can put normal kitchen waste into the Bokashi, like fruit, vegetable, or coffee grain. If there are bigger pieces, cut them into smaller ones to speed up the fermentation process. Don’t put bones, ashes, meat, or paper into the Bokashi.

You can either build your own Bokashi from scratch or buy them online. A Bokashi bucket should have a tap so you can get the fluid out of the bucket while the fermentation process is still ongoing. Also, keeping in mind that the fermentation process in the Bokashi is anaerobic, it is important to keep the inside of the bucket as free from oxygen as possible. Therefore, make sure that there are no air pockets when you refill the Bokashi with waste. You might want to use a plate to press down the waste-bran mixture. Also, do not stir what is already in the Bokashi with the new waste you put into the bucket.

Hello there! I'm Julia, co-founder of Eco-Spotlight and a freelance journalist. With Eco-Spotlight, I want to focus on sharing stories of inspirational people and positive impact, as well as learn more about the environment, and sustainability.

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