Basics of Bokashi Composting – Garden Tips 2024

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All gardeners know how beneficial composting is but what if you don’t have the space outside for a giant bin? Or what if you’re just too impatient to wait for the results? The solution is to try bokashi composting.

Basics of bokashi composting: Invented in Japan, bokashi composting allows you to mix your kitchen scraps with a bran feeder mixture. After the food scraps break down, you can add the compost to your soil.

What is Bokashi composting?

Traditional composting is all about layering green items, such as vegetable scraps, with brown items, such as old leaves. The materials break down and you can then use the nutrients in your soil.

With bokashi composting, you can add any kitchen scraps, including vegetable peels, meat, and dairy. Then, you add a layer of wheat germ or sawdust and molasses.

Microorganisms work through all the scraps to break them down and use the wheat germ or molasses as a food source. The process creates a liquid that you can use in your garden as well as a fermented mixture that can be mixed into your soil.

Is bokashi better than composting?

Bokashi composting and traditional composting have the same goals but there are some major differences in how they accomplish these.

Type of process

Traditional composting needs oxygen for the process to work. As a result, it is classified as an aerobic process.

With bokashi composting, the opposite is true. It is an anaerobic process which means you want to keep the lid tight and not expose it to too much oxygen.

Time period

Traditional composting can take as little as two weeks, as long as you tend to it regularly. However, most people don’t have the time or energy for this so you can expect compost to be ready for your garden in about two or three months.

Bokashi composting is a lot faster. In just 10 days you can turn your kitchen scraps into compost that is ready for your garden. Furthermore, the liquid will start to be created after just one day.

Size and Location

An important factor in determining if you want to go with bokashi composting is the space you live in. Unlike traditional composting, which needs a large, outdoor container, bokashi composting relies on a small container that can stay inside.

This container is large enough to process many kitchen scraps but small enough to sit on a kitchen counter. And, as long as you regularly drain the liquid, you shouldn’t expect any odors.

The small size means you have constant access to compost and don’t have to worry about bringing your scraps outside, which can be a bit annoying when the weather isn’t great.

How Bokashi Composting Works

For bokashi composting to work properly, you need an airtight container. It’s best to buy a standard bokashi bucket as this will also have a spigot at the bottom.

There are two steps to harvesting your compost. First, during the process a liquid will form, called bokashi tea.

Turn the spigot to release the liquid. This is incredibly beneficial and can be poured right into your garden. Also, the liquid should be released every day or two to prevent strong odors.

The second part of bokashi composting is using the fermented mixture. After about 10 days, your food scraps will be ready for your garden and you can mix them right into the soil.

How do you make bokashi compost at home?


First, you will need a bokashi compost bin. While you could DIY a bin, it’s much easier to purchase one as there are many online retailers.

The construction of the bin is key as you need an airtight lid and a spigot at the bottom to access the liquid. If you don’t have these elements, the compost won’t work and it will become quite smelly.

Bran material

While your kitchen will naturally supply all the food scraps you need, you will have to purchase your fermented organic matter, which is usually a mixture of bran.

Again, a simple search online will provide you with numerous options. While you will have to purchase this material, often called the inoculant, it is cheap so you will still be saving money with your composting process.

Add scraps

Now comes the fun part! Simply place any food scraps into your bin. This can include fruits, vegetables, eggshells, and coffee grounds.

Unlike traditional composting, you can also add meat and cheese. To speed up the process you can cut the scraps into smaller pieces, but this is not necessary.

Add the bran

The key to making bokashi composting work is to layer. So, every time you add kitchen scraps, be sure to add a layer of your bran mixture.

Press the pile as you do so and then keep adding layer after layer. You can continue this process until the bucket is full.

Drain liquid

In order to prevent smells from occurring, an important step is to drain the liquid. Take a bowl or cup and place it under the spigot and release the liquid.

This compost tea is full of nutrients. Simply add a bit of water to it and fertilize your garden with it.

Add to your soil

After two weeks, you are ready to add your compost to your garden. It still won’t be completely broken down at this stage so the process will continue as you bury it.

If you have traditional compost, you can add your bokashi matter to it, along with other brown organic matter. Mix everything into your soil to make your garden healthier.

How long does bokashi take to decompose?

It only takes 10 to 14 days for your bokashi to decompose. While the food scraps won’t be completely broken down, they will be ready for you to mix into your garden.

The bokashi liquid will be ready after just a day or two, so be sure to drain the container daily to keep the process going and prevent odors.


Whether you are short on space or like to try new gardening methods, bokashi composting is an innovative experience. It allows you to keep your garden healthy and cut back on food waste.

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