The first time I heard someone say the word Bokashi, I politely responded with 'bless you'. Turns out they were not in the midst of a hayfever sneezing session, but talking about composting bins (easy mistake to make am I right?!)
Of course I was still no clearer on what a Bokashi was, but to try and save face I nodded and agreed with what my friend was saying and then quickly got home and googled what on earth she was talking about. Turns out Bokashi Bins are pretty darn clever composting systems and so to avoid any future composting conversation faux pas, I swiftly purchased my own and put them to the test. Here is my guide on what they are and how to use them so you too don’t end up unnecessarily blessing people.
So what is it?! In short the Bokashi Bin system allows you to compost ALL food waste including the usual suspects but also cooked food, meat, fish and cheese, all from the convenience of your kitchen. What you will need are two bins, some Bokashi Bran (the stuff that works it’s magic to break down the contents of the bin), and a scoop and....that's it! So let’s take it step by step on how to use it.
Once both your bins are assembled (which is simply attaching the tap and slotting in the inner drain trays, all very straight forward) take one of the bins to use first, while the other gets stored away (more on this later). Then start filling your bin!
It is best to do this in layers and in between you sprinkle the bran. In the famous words of a beauty advert - here comes the science bit! (cue eye roll)
Bokashi is a Japanese word meaning ‘fermented organic matter’, where the bran material has beneficial micro organisms (think friendly bacteria) which all work together to speed up the composting process, and (thankfully) prevent putrefaction and any bad smells
So once you have put a layer of food in your bin, sprinkle a handful of bran over it in a thin but even layer and repeat, it couldn’t be simpler. You continue this until the bin is full, but it’s not quite done yet. The bran needs to go through a fermentation process (like beer but definitely not beer!) Which takes approximately two weeks to complete. This is why you have two bins, so while the first bin is doing it’s thing, you can continue filling the second bin.
Now what to do with all your freshly fermented material? You have two choices, either pop it into your outdoor composter or bury it directly into the ground. It’s best to have soil to cover it and keep away from plant roots as initially its quite acidic, but after about 7-10 days it is neutralized and ready for plants. Seems to good to be true? There are some rules to follow, but don’t worry they are very easy -
And....that's it! A great way to conveniently dispose of your unwanted food scraps.
I often get people asking about the smell and genuinely this hasn't been an issue. It's more like a pickled smell rather than a bin smell. Its perfect for anyone with limited space and wants to do their bit to eliminate all types of food waste. Not only will you be helping your plants but helping the planet too.
I purchased my starter kit from www.wigglywigglers.co.uk who do a range of composting options as well as Bokashi bins. You can buy subsequent bags of bran from them too which have the added benefit of not being packaged in plastic. Win win!
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