The Waldorf School of Baltimore uses Bokashi Composting as a method to deal with our organic waste. Below is some general information about the process and how to build a bokashi bucket and make your own EM (Effective Microorganisms) mix. Bokashi Composting is an anaerobic process that requires very little space — making it an ideal system for urban schools and households. If you have any questions or would like consultation on establishing a Bokashi System for your school, feel free to contact our Ecoliteracy & Sustainability Coordinator, Michel Anderson, through the contact form below. The information below was prepared by Michel for a workshop given at the 2014 MAEOE Conference. The workshop’s accompanying PowerPoint presentation can be found HERE.
The Bokashi Cycle
• Collect food waste in a container with a sealable lid.
• When full, empty it into the bokashi bucket and add EM mix – 3 parts food to 1 part mix. (You can’t add too much mix but you can add too little…follow your nose.)
• Cover with a plate and seal the bucket.
• When the bokashi bucket is full, let it sit and ferment for 2 weeks. Keep it sealed.
• Depending on its contents, liquid (Bokashi Juice) may collect at the bottom of the bucket and need to be removed, this is done without opening the bucket.
• When fermentation is complete bury the compost in a garden bed or trench and cover with 8 inches of soil.
• Compost is ready for planting in 2 weeks.
The bokashi fermentation process produces a highly nutritious compost juice that is full of beneficial bacteria. It can be diluted and used in your vegetable garden, on trees and shrubs, or on household plants. It can be used for pipe cleaning by pouring it directly down your drain or into your septic tank. Though you may be tempted…DO NOT DRINK IT! It won’t taste good.
• Dilute 1 TBSP in 2 liters of water for indoor plants and garden use.
• Dilute 2 TBSP in 2 liters of water for trees and shrubs.
• Bokashi Juice does not keep and must be used within 24 hours.
DIY Bokashi Instructions
Bokashi Bucket Supplies
• 2 – 5 gallon buckets $10
• 1 – 1/8” drill bit $ 1
• 1 – Lid (screw top) $ 7
• 1 – Thrift Store Plate $ .50
• 1 – Plastic Bag free
Total: $18.50 (vs $50 for commercial bucket)
• Drill a series of holes on the bottom of a bucket.
• Put the screw top lid on the “holed” bucket.
• Slide the “holed” bucket into the “un-holed” one.
• Use a plate and plastic bag to “suffocate” the food waste during fermentation.
DONE! – 10 minutes!
Note: With this design the bokashi juice will drain into the lower bucket. Lift the “holed” bucket out of the “un-holed” one to drain it.
Bokashi Mix Ingredients – Makes 10 lbs
• 4 Tbsp – EM1 $2 ($35/quart)
• 4 Tbsp – Molasses $1.25 ($10/16 ounces)
• 10 lbs – Wheat Bran $10 ($50/50 pounds)
• 10 cups – Water free
• 1 – Plastic Bag free
Total: $13.25/1.32 per lb (vs $20 for 2 lbs)
• Put Wheat Bran in a large bucket
• Mix together,EM1, molasses and water in a small container
• Add the liquid to the wheat bran and stir until it holds the shape of a ball – add more water if needed
• Place in a plastic bag, remove all the air, and seal
This will take about 10 minutes. Date it and let it sit for two weeks until a sweet smell exudes from the bag. Open it – if you see little white crumbles it’s done. (The crumbles are composites of beneficial bacteria.) Since Bokashi bacteria grow in an anaerobic environment, you must dry it out before use. It may then be stored it in zip-lock bags.