Want to compost ALL your organic kitchen waste fast? Try a bokashi bin for quicker composting, plus get all the added benefits while you’re at it.
Sound familiar? I’d love to recycle my food scraps, but my garden’s too small for a compost heap… or, I haven’t got time to sort through what I can and can’t compost, so my food waste ends up in the rubbish bin.
Recycling ALL your food waste quickly – it can be done
Composting organic kitchen waste (plate scrapings and the rest) especially when you only have a small garden is not easy, but it is possible. One solution is to purée your scraps in a blender each day and bury the pulp in the garden. It will compost and it won’t attract pests, but it will take months to break down.
I’ve tried lots of different composting contraptions developed for home gardeners and I’ve found that indoor compost buckets don’t really work. A composter needs to be big enough to generate the required heat. Without this critical mass, stuff just becomes slimy and smelly and instead of rotting down, it just rots. Worm bin devices work well, but only for plant-based scraps, and they take up more room than a lot of people would like.
A simple composting system from Japan comes to the rescue
Thankfully, a composting system developed in Japan means you can now recycle all your organic kitchen waste including dairy, meat and cooked foods. The process uses bokashi bran, wheat bran that has been inoculated with effective micro-organisms (EM). EMs contain good bacteria that help ferment the organic material and transform food waste into rich compost in just 4 to 6 weeks.
Bokashi composting works much faster than ordinary composting. The bokashi bran helps to pickle the organic material and speedily break it down into enzymes and amino acids, which plant roots love. The fermentation period takes about two weeks, and the composting stage takes about a month. That’s why bokashi bins are usually sold in sets of 2; it takes the average household about 2 weeks to fill one bucket, so while one is being filled, the other can be fermenting.
Using the bokashi bin system
The system is very straightforward and if adopted will quickly become part of your kitchen routine. Simply put your non-liquid food scraps into the bucket and sprinkle one handful of bokashi bran to every 3 to 4 centimetres of waste. Press the mass down lightly and reseal the container. The mixture will produce a liquid by-product called bokashi juice, which should be drained using the tap at the base of the unit. Repeat this layering process until the bucket is full, then leave it stand for 2 weeks to ferment, but make sure you regularly drain off any excess juice.
Once the first load is ‘cooked’, the waste will smell like sweet pickle and can be directly buried in the garden, or in a large container of soil (at least a cubic metre), or, if you have one, tipped on the compost heap.
After about 4 to 6 weeks the bokashi waste will be unrecognisable; the waste will have converted to a rich compost, perhaps with the odd avocado stone or piece of bone still detectable. You can now plant straight into it, or move the compost to other parts of the garden. See Bokashi and your garden for more information.
Satisfaction guaranteed – especially if you’re a plant
The beneficial microbes present in bokashi compost go to work as a nutritious soil conditioner encouraging healthy plant growth, whilst bokashi juice can be used as a liquid fertiliser for plants indoors and out (simply dilute it with water), or used as a probiotic cleanser and poured down the sink to keep the pipes clean.
The bokashi bin system fits perfectly into your low-impact lifestyle. You can vastly reduce the amount of waste you put out for the dustmen, and at the same time, quickly produce bokashi-enriched compost to give your garden a boost.[ratings]