1. Last month we had the opportunity to teach a bokashi workshop at the Del Mar fairgrounds. There seems to be a large amount of interest in this “so called,” new method of composting. But it is not actually a compost method, but more of a preservation method. Bokashi has been in practice in Asia for hundreds of years. Here in the west, we use a similar process of preservation called silage or ensiling.

So what is bokashi. The word is a Japanese word that roughly means fermented organic matter. The process is similar to pickle, yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut making. Lactobacillus bacteria and yeast play a crucial role in the success of employing the method. An anerobic environment is also very important. Ok, so what does compost have to do with pickles, you ask? Bokashi is a way to preserve food waste in a “non putrid state,” that allows one to neatly store it until one is ready to be composted. I know what you are thinking… “YUCK!!  Why would I want to store food waste?” Read on my friends, read on.

Rotting food waste is probably one of the most revolting things that we as humans have to deal with. Human excrement is worse, but we don’t normally have to deal with that much here in the US. If you toss any kind of food in your kitchen trash can though, within a few days and sometime just a few hours, you will soon need to take the bag out to the dumpster or rolling bin so it can be added to the local or not so local landfill. I started using bokashi for the soil building benefits, which I will get into soon. But the most ben

eficial aspect of using bokashi for me has been the reduction of trash I send to the curb each week for the waste haulers to pickup and carry to the landfill. This is because bokashi let’s you compost 100% of the food waste that is produced in your kitchen.

So, how does bokashi help build soil if it isn’t a compost method? Well, just like sauerkraut takes cabbage and changes it into a more easily digestible state, bokashi does the same thing with food waste for your soil. Our depleted soils are constantly losing organic matter which feeds the microbes that make  and keep our soil healthy. Think sand vs. rainforest floor soil. Which has more life within and which supports the most plant life above it? Bokashi let’s you take 100% of that food waste you are producing at home or anywhere else, and return it to the soil to quickly break down into a rich soil humus like substance.

30 day Bokashi compost. 75 gallons of food waste was implemented into this bin.img_4066
You can see the distinct layer of dark rich compost.

One last thing, for now, bokashi has answers for many if not all of the shortcomings of traditional compost methods. It has no input limitations. Meaning you can add meat, dairy, fats, and citrus to bokashi. This allows for a much richer compost than normal backyard composting can achieve. Bokashi does not require specific carbon:nitrogen ratios, turning, and possibly, no extra water. It also lets you take food from the kitchen to workable compost in as little as 30 days.

My first Bokashi Soil Regeneration Binimg_0683