The Basics – traditional composting vs Bokashi
Traditional composting involves layering nitrogen-rich green waste (lawn clippings, organic kitchen waste, leaves) with carbon-rich brown waste (paper, dry leaves, sticks) in equal parts, then allowing time for it to break down. It takes approximately 6 months to produce a dark, nutrient-rich compost that you can use in your garden.
This process is an ‘aerobic’ one that uses air to break down. In contrast, the Bokashi system breaks down food scraps through an ‘anaerobic’ process, meaning ‘without air’ or moisture. For this reason, a Bokashi bin needs a well-sealed lid and the contents pressed down regularly to remove any pockets of air. Bokashi essentially ‘pickles’ your kitchen leftovers to bring them to a pre-compost state.
The air-tight Bokashi bin has a small tap at the bottom to drain off the liquid that is produced during the process. This liquid makes a very nutritious “Bokashi tea” that can be fed to your plants.
After around ten days of fermenting in the bin, the mixture can either be buried in the garden – where it further breaks down to create a rich soil within 4 weeks – or added to your compost pile to continue to break down. The latter, is what we do, and we find it super easy! Once the bin is full we simply add it to the compost heap, which gives the compost a great boost of microbes and actually helps it break down faster.
How traditional composting and Bokashi works together perfectly
Keep your compost pile for garden waste which won’t fit in a Bokashi bin – lawn clippings, hedge trimmings and small branches. Plus, your organic kitchen waste (although no dairy, meat or fish).
The small size of a Bokashi bin means it is better suited to fermenting the likes of your banana peels, chicken bones, carrots tops etc. In fact, pretty much all of the rest of your kitchen waste can be added to a Bokashi bin with a few exceptions; rotting food and any liquids (to maintain a dry environment).
It’s worth mentioning, that if you live in an apartment or have a smaller garden where there is little to no garden work to be done, a Bokashi bin is all you really need as a composting solution. The bins’ small size, also means it fits under a sink or in a similar small space.
What’s more, a Bokashi bin isn’t as smelly as a compost pile, plus the sealed environment will not attract insects or rats.
It’s estimated that around a third of the food produced in the world is never eaten; that’s not just wasted food, it’s greenhouse gases produced for no good reason. Turning food waste into a garden fertiliser puts that wasted goodness back into the environment. Thanks to this system, we have zero food waste across all our chalets and central kitchen.