"A revolutionary fermentation process that turns your kitchen waste into a rich soil conditioner.
The Bokashi Bucket is a practical and convenient alternative for transforming kitchen waste into a nutrient rich soil conditioner. This unique composting system uses the revolutionary EM (Effective Micro-Organism) Bokashi to create the ideal conditions for airtight (anaerobic) composting.
Great for houses, the eco-friendly Bokashi Bucket and EM Bokashi eliminate the odours and unpleasantness associated with putrefaction and decay.
You can compost almost every kitchen food waste in your Bokashi Bucket including fruit and vegetables, prepared foods, cooked and uncooked meats and fish, cheese, eggs, bread, coffee grinds, tea bags, wilted flowers and tissues. Bokashi starter kits contain all you need to get started and can be purchased from our order page."
so basically, as you can see its just lovely. it's good for people especially who like me, live in an apartment and don't make that much rubbish to begin with or don't have space for a compost bin or worm farm (those things end up being pretty huge somehow). it also doesn't produce the horrid smell compost and worm farms make since it ferments instead of rots the food. you can however, move the stuff that has fermented to your compost bin or bury in your garden (or pot if you dont HAVE a garden) to further break down. the Bokashi people suggest having 2 bins so you move the stuff from the first bin to the second to ferment and break down more before burying.
here is their Australian website, there would be other country listings, i just couldn't be bothered to find it (hehe, so much for being helpful)
this explains much better than i will (or could i guess) how it works and it has a video of how to use it, how it should look after fermenting etc.
now, the Australian website expects me to shell out $100 for a 20 litre bucket and some EM (sawdust with micro-organisms in it) and i have to say, they must be out of their minds. my dads local council in New Zealand sells them for $20 (suddenly angered much?). so in my DIY vengeance i decided to stick my nose up at them and make my own.
YOU WILL NEED
- 2 Buckets, one with a lid (i used 20 litre buckets because that's what the hardware store had, but a household of 2 people uses about a 10 litre bucket so guesstimate from that)
- drill with a 10mm drill bit (i tried a 2mm one as well as making a hole with mallet and nail and the bucket just laughed at me)
- yeah that's it.
- 3 kg of oat bran/oats/ or sawdust (Bokashi sell it as sawdust and a book i read suggested oat bran but it was too expensive so i decided to experiment with rolled oats and i don't see what the difference is, but correct me if i'm wrong)
- 15 mL/ 2 Table spoons Molasses
- 3 L water
- micro organisms (you can buy this stuff at the hardware store but i decided not to worry and left it out. if i find its not fermenting propelry or really smells i might go buy some but i have little funds and couldn't be bothered walking to the hardware store)
its basically a 2 bucket system, you are just going to stack the 2 buckets ontop of each other, so its good to get buckets where at least the one that sits on top has some sort of lip/ridge that stops it from sinking all the way down the bottom bucket (i used industrial buckets and if you look closely, the bottom lip/ridge stops the bucket sinking into the bottom one).
the bucket that sits on top needs a airtight lid and some holes drilled into the bottom of it for liquid to drip into the second bucket. its also a good idea to draw where the holes are going to go so you have a specific spot to aim the drill at. HOLD THE DRILL WITH BOTH HANDS AND USE SOMETHING HEAVY TO HOLD THE BUCKET DOWN. when you drill through, the bucket is going to bounce all over the place! this is why you should hold the bucket down with a brick or if like me you like to live on the wild side, use your foot (but keep it as far from that nasty drill as you can). to get the drill out, put the drill into reverse spin.
there isn't really a rule about how many holes to put in i think, i went a bit crazy, i don't want any liquid hiding in the top bucket in case it starts to rot stuff. i've put in the photo of the drill and drill bits to show you the 2mm bit i used first and... failed with. you can see how much thicker and MIGHTIER the 10 mm bit is.
sit it into the second bucket, making sure there is some space left in the bottom bucket for liquid to build up and VOILA! everything you would normally dispose of that is biodegradable goes in the top bucket (food scraps including meat.citrus/onioins/garlic - which you cant normally put in other composts) egg shells, nail clippings, tissues, newpapers, kitty litter/other pet poops, grass/plant clippings). if it starts to smell you just chuck in some of the EM on top.
when you first set it up or have just emptied the bucket and are starting again, give the bucket a rinse with a small amount of dish washing detergeant (rinse well!) and when you put food in again, put some EM in the bottom, middle and top layers of food to help it start fermenting.
you should expect white mould, this is part of the fermenting process. if there is black mould it means there is too much moisture, it needs more EM. any sign that it is too wet, just add more EM, the same if it seems to be smelling too much.
HOW TO USE YOUR BOKASHI BUCKET
like i said previously, when you put your first lot of food in the bucket (the very fist time as well as every time you empty it out and start again), start off with some EM in the bottom, middle and top layer and then later on, as it all begins to ferment and shrink, you only need to add more when it gets a bit smelly.
as it ferments, liquid will be drained into the bottom bucket, that needs to emptied out at least once a week. once your bucket is full, leave it for 10-14 days and then put it in your comport bin/worm/farm/in the ground/ big planter pot/ tub or pot plant if you dont have a garden or a second bokashi bucket to further ferment and break down, and put a ratio of about one part EM to 2 parts bin contents (although its not imperative that you do) and cover with soil for 6-8 weeks. then its ready to be donated to your plants!
- Bokashi Juice can be diluted with water and makes a terrific fertiliser for garden or pot plants.
- It can be poured down drains and it is safe to use in septic tanks.
When used in drains it will help to clean up our water ways by competing with harmful bacteria (especially if you're putting the organism/bacteria stuff from the hardware store in your EM).
POST DIY EDIT
i just made my EM (which is more E than M since i haven't bought any micro organisms) and discovered two things.
1. its essentially sticky porridge and using all 3 kg of the stuff for one use is over kill. i only used 1kg oats, 1 L water and 1 tablespoon of molasses (well maybe 2, i wasn't sure if it was enough to distribute properly) and there was plenty for the bottom and top layer (i only had about 2 L worth of stuff to put in there anyway). i decided just in case, to put some untounched, dry oats on top, just a light sprinkling to cover the whole thing, in case it was all a bit too wet.
2. my kittens are rather fond of porridge and molasses on a spoon. and buckets.
POST POST EDIT
that EM mix didn't work so well, using oats was not the best idea. it didn't rot since nothing in the bokashi bucket rots but ferments, but it didn't stop the stuff from stinking to high heaven. it could also probably have something to do with me not taking it out after the 10 day fermentation process and instead take it out a month after. BAD IDEA.
i'd origianlly altered the EM mi recipe i found so i'm going to go back and see what the recipe actually said. i'm aso going to go to the hardware store and see how much a tub of bioculture mistuff costs, which is essentially the EM mi you'd buy from a bokashi website/shop, which is what i was trying to replicate for a cheaper price.
i was also using the oats to keep the smell down, but on reflection you could probably go to your local carpenter or hardware store that cuts wood in store and ask for wood shavings/saw dust. i called a few carpenters but they all work with chip board which was absolutely useless to me. while i'm at the hardware store looking for bioculture mix i'll ask about saw dust. i saw some for sale at a pet store but why buy a tiny amount for far too high a price when you can get it for free AND recycle something which would only be thrown out?
once you bury the contents of the bokashi bin in the ground a little saw dust on top can help with the smell. i tried sand and it killed the worms i think...
i live in an apartment so i have no garden to bury it in, i got some foam crates from the fruit shop and "borrowed" some soil from my apartment grounds and the park next to my building. i tell you, the stuff stinks. probably wasn't helped by having left it in the bucket for close to a month and not drainign out the liquid at least once a month. although i've never had a compost bin/heap/attempt befpre so i'm fairly sure it smells just as much as they would.
i'll update this entry once i have more answers.