Pickling Your Waste ..

I have now been working with Bokashi bins since the start of June – l am by no means an expert – but the reality of the ease of proficiency and your experience with this process can make you knowledgeable pretty quickly.

My Bokashi Bin

What is Bokashi in its simplest form?

Bokashi is a process of breaking down your kitchen wastes predominantly but it is also very effective with other organic matter and it works its magic through fermentation although it could also be regarded as pickling.

Some refer to it as a form of composting and having experience with composting – l can see why some might regard it as such – however – it isn’t directly composting.

Squeezing the content down to remove air pockets.

Bokashi works by pressuring the waste and having no air present and a leechate gathers in the base of your bin/bucket/container which is an extremely rich liquid fertiliser once it has been further diluted down with water. Bokashi can – once finished its process – be buried in your garden directly to aid the fertilisation of your plants or added to your existing compost heap.

Siphoning off the liquid fertiliser/leechate.

Composting works through a different process – which is reducing your garden and kitchen wastes down through the various stages of decay via decomposition. Composting is aided with this by micro and macroorganisms and utilising air and heat combined to help with the breakdown.

Bokashi Bran

What are the benefits to Bokashi?

Foods can be added to the bin whole or chopped/shredded – the bin starts empty and slowly starts to fill as food is added. Each new layer of food is covered with a liberal sprinkling of bran.

l would have to say – it’s actually easier than composting to a degree. It is literally a case of adding your food wastes to a bin and covering with a sprinkled layer of bran – which is made up of ‘wheat bran’, EM-1 which itself is a form of microbial inoculant, molasses and water – squashing down so as to compact the wastes and not have any air present and then shutting the lid tightly on the container.

You could like myself reduce your wastes further with a blender or like Suze just add the wastes in unchopped. It doesn’t really make any huge difference although shredded food wastes do take up less space than a non shredded food waste bin.

Once you have closed the lid the microbes set to work.

It can be faster – of course reflective upon how you dispose of your end product as in if you add to your compost heap or directly to the ground. But also, how quickly you fill up your bin. When l was living with Suze and l started the Bokashi back in June l was filling up a 16 Litre bin every two weeks – however now l am filling up a bin once every six weeks on shredded wastes and Suze fills up one once a month on unchopped wastes.

But a bin once filled and left for another two weeks is ready to then go direct into the ground or the compost heap. I t will produce a liquid or leechate from within the first two weeks of starting.

You can throw everything into your Bokashi bin – all food wastes – bones, meat, greens, fruits – the only thing you shouldn’t include is liquids.

There aren’t any strong smells of decay or decomposition present and the only scent is when the lid is taken off and fresh foods put in and that smell is of the molassed bran with a sticky sweet emell attached. But once the lid is back on the smell doesn’t linger.

Bokashi finished mix/compost helps to build healthy soils – when dug into the ground you are also including and digging back in, the microbes. It can and does produce an excellent liquid fertiliser that has other magical properties attached and if added to your regular compost heap it makes for a delicious addition for your residental worms cultures.

What can l put into my Bokashi Bin?

Veg PeelsAll VegFruit SkinsAll Fruit
LeftoversMeatsBonesEgg Shell
BreadBiscuitCheeseCooked Food

What you shouldn’t include are excess liquids, greases and oils as these can damage the microbial process and the valuable leechates. Try to avoid adding overly moldy foods also.

Now, you can also add small amounts of garden waste – however – by this, l don’t mean your grass clippings or the rose bush, but indoor garden wastes like rose petals or dead flowers, leaves, stems and stalks.

Cat or dog poo should be avoided especially with the likes of a human food waste bin and not combined, but there are Bokashi bins designed to cope with this style of composting – l would suggest researching methods more appropriate for the disposal of animal wastes.

What do l think so far?

Well l was a conventional composter for many years and to a certain degree l still am, although l have traded my three cubicle composting units from the old house for a single mini upright hot compost unit in the new place here.

I have in addition to the Bokashi, and the Hot Composter an active and fully working Worm Farm. So instead of digging the finished Bokashi content into the ground l am opting to hot compost what l haven’t fed to the worms.

I don’t have enough naked soil here to dig holes into and bury and whilst this may work for some l feel that others may encounter especially in the UK, but l could see potentially in the States and Canada and possibly Australia too experiencing wildlife problems digging the content up and more so if the gardener did NOT dig the finished content in properly.

However, so far and now after three dedicated months of this new style l can say that l am still impressed, but of course l am not using the pickled side of things as a direct content fertiliser and only as a feeding and fuelling component.

See below for examples of Bokashi composting.

Are there any additional uses to the Bokashi content?

Yes, the leechate, liquid fertiliser of simply Bokashi juice can be used as a fertiliser, soil conditioner, lawn conditioner and drainage cleaner. If using as a liquid fertiliser always dilute further as it is too strong to apply direct to plants and growings – work on a 1:100/300 ratio.

See below for suggestions.

Anyway, so there we go – the Bokashi post l promised you all a few weeks back. Hope you found it interesting. Thanks for reading!

Welcome to the Secret Garden folks see you next time!

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