Monthly Archives: November 2015

Disadvantages of Bokashi Composting

I wanted to continue my previous post and talk about disadvantages of Bokashi composting.  In Adam Footer’s book Bokashi Composting he often says that he thinks Bokashi is easier and better than traditional composting.  He is making a case for Bokashi composting, which I can understand because he is very excited about the process.  I would just like to present some disadvantages of Bokashi composting to present both sides. I  don’t want people to embrace the Bokashi composting process without hearing another opinion and considering all the ramifications.  Please read my updated blog post on Bokashi Composting Advantages for my latest experiences using Bokashi!

I See 5 Disadvantages of Bokashi Composting

  1.  It is expensive. You need to buy the Bokashi bran to do the process on a continual basis.   The prices are 2 lbs for $9.99 and 5 lbs is $14.99 plus shipping.  They told me it takes 2 lbs to process one 5 lb bucket which takes 2-3 weeks so the price could add up quickly.  Right now Teraganix has a sale buy 1 get one free.  When I purchased mine for my experiment I got this sale which helps a lot with the expense.  It says on the website while supplies last so I don’t know how long this deal is available.
  2. It looks like a hassle to make the bran yourself. You can make your own Bokashi bran and it is much cheaper.  This is definitely true but check out the bran making process.  It seems like quite a job to me particularly if you are buying a 50 lb bag of raw bran to inoculate with the Bokashi microbes.  50 lbs is very heavy and a lot of wheat bran!  The video at the end of this blog post makes it look easy and fun.  This video was made by Teraganix which sells everything you need to do Bokashi composting so it has a hidden agenda and a positive slant on the process. If I like Bokashi composting I would try making my own bran to see if it is a feasible process for me.  If you do it on a big tarp maybe it is not so bad.
  3. You have to bury it in the soil after it is fully fermented. These are some drawback to this.  You need enough space to bury it.  Depending on where you live the ground could be frozen in the winter.
  4. You have to bury it in a deep hole so animals don’t  dig it up.  I thought because I was working with fermented food that the animals wouldn’t want it and that would eliminate digging deep holes.  But no such luck apparently animals like fermented food scraps!!
  5. When you bury it it is very acidic so you have to keep it away from your plant roots that are already planted.  It was stated that this acidity is neutralized very quickly.

Adam Footer does state that it breaks down faster in the ground.  If that is the case then that is a plus but I need to experiment with this to see how it works out.  I will keep you posted in the next few months.

One big advantage so far is that I don’t have to go out to the compost bin all the time and I am loving that it doesn’t stink!  I have 3 weeks of food scraps in a 5 lb bucket and it does not smell.  It would absolutely stink if it didn’t have Bokashi bran in it.

Disadvantages of Bokashi Composting

I have buried my first batch of Bokashi kitchen scraps.  I just dumped my bucket into a small hole.  Then I chopped the kitchen scraps with the shovel and mixed them with dirt.  It wasn’t so bad burying it.  Actually it was quite easy.  The ground has not frozen yet.  I will check it in two weeks to see how it is doing.  Of course it is not going to breakdown as fast as in the summer because it is cold outside.

I have new thoughts and experiences on Burying Bokashi compost.  Check them out!

Here is a great article on making your own Bokashi bran.  It has a recipe for making a smaller amount than 50 lbs.


Bokashi Composting Book Review

This Bokashi Composting book review covers the book by Adam Footer: Bokashi Composting.  It was published in 2014.  Bokashi composting is a different approach to composting using anaerobic microbes.  These are microbes that live without oxygen.  I would like to share some thoughts about this book.

Bokashi Composting Works by Fermenting

Bokashi composting was started in SE Asia and Japan. Not many people in the United States have heard of it.  It is a form of composting that uses a specific set of microbes that work anaerobically.  These microbes ferment the kitchen scraps which actually means the scraps get pickled.  The pickled product of Bokashi composting is then buried in the soil. It breaks down much faster than regular kitchen scraps according to Adam Footer.

Microorganisms Used in Bokashi

The set of microbes is called EM1 or  essential microorganisms.  These are defined as a group of symbiotic microbes.  Symbiotic means that they live together in an interdependent relationship.  They are used with  kitchen scraps and manure to ferment them.  They can also be used as a starter culture to make bokashi bran.  The microbes are a blend of lactic acid, bacteria, yeast and phototropic bacteria that work together as a group.  They have the ability to dominate or out-compete other microbes reducing odor and disease.

They were discovered and developed by Dr. Teruo Niga in Japan in the 70’s and 80’s.  Dr. Higa was working to get away from farming with synthetic chemicals.  He was looking for a more natural way to nourish plants.  EM1 is used in over 120 countries worldwide.  Farmers across Asia had practiced various forms of fermenting organic waste for generations using local microorganisms from the air, soil or leaf mold.  The process is similar to using local wild microorganisms from the air to make a sourdough starter.

The Bokashi composting process is said to take about 6 weeks:

  1. 2 weeks of collecting food scraps in a 5 gallon bucket layering with EM1 bokashi bran between each addition.
  2. 2 weeks of letting it sit to process and ferment
  3. 2 weeks of being buried in the soil

Then voila you have great compost for your soil.  I am experimenting to see if this is true.  The Compostumbler advertising says you can get compost in 14 days.  I have never accomplished this but with the exact right conditions it might be possible.

Bokashi Composting Book Review Shows the Table of Contents

Demonstrating how Adam Footer covers all aspects of this type of composting:

  1. History
  2. the Science Behind the process
  3. Shows how to make Bokashi Bran
  4. Covers the Fermentation bucket with instructions to make one yourself
  5. How to Use Bokashi Bran to Compost Kitchen Waste
  6. How to Use the Fermented End product
  7. About the Liquid By-product

So as you can see this book covers everything you could ever want to know about implementing Bokashi Composting.  I highly recommend reading it if you are interested in doing Bokashi Composting.  Here is a great blog on Bokashi composting with lots of comments.

Bokashi Composting Book Review

Here is a picture of my Bokashi bucket after 4 weeks.  There is parsley and onion skins on the top looking quite normal except for the brown Bokashi bran sprinkled on top.  There is no rotting odor which is amazing after 4 weeks!   In my next post I will continue with a Bokashi composting book review as he compares Bokashi composting with traditional composting.  I think he is heavily weighted towards Bokashi making some statements I wouldn’t agree with.

More posts on Bokashi:
Bokashi Composting Advantages
Disadvantages of Bokashi Composting
Burying Bokashi Compost