Have you ever wondered whether you can add bokashi to your compost bin?
Bokashi composting is a great and very beneficial process, but what do you do with the waste afterward?
Does a bokashi compost bin work well?
Fortunately, you can compost bokashi produce perfectly well, and it should add valuable nutrients and microbes to your compost bin. Essentially, the ingredients have just been pickled, and they will continue to break down in the bin without any issue at all. In fact, they are good for the compost, because they are less likely to attract vermin like rats than other food is.
Can You Add Bokashi Waste to Your Compost Bin?
Yes, you can add bokashi waste to your compost bin, and indeed you will probably need to do so if you want to operate bokashi bins in your yard.
Bokashi waste is not ready to be spread on the ground and used for plants, because it needs further processing and breaking down, even once it has finished “pickling” in the bucket you keep it in.
A bokashi compost bin does not actually compost the food at all, but instead uses the bran that you add to pickle it.
This breaks it down to a degree, giving you valuable “bokashi tea” for your plants, but it does not turn it back into a soil-like material you can use to grow plants.
After a while, you will need to:
- empty your bokashi bins
- and transfer the waste somewhere else so you can fill them with fresh food and bran.
The somewhere else is usually your compost bin, and bokashi waste is very good for your compost.
Bokashi compost usually has lots of beneficial microbes in it, as a result of the pickling process, and these will go into the compost when you add it.
These microbes are partly why bokashi tea is so good for your plants – and if you add them to your compost, they will benefit that too.
Bokashi compost can also process more kinds of foods, such as bread and dairy (which can cause issues in traditional composting).
That means that the nutrients from these foods will go into the compost heap, without any of the disadvantages.
In general, you shouldn’t add bread or dairy to your normal compost because these things are likely to attract pests, but once the foods have been pickled in the bokashi compost bin, they are far less appetizing.
From Experience: You might get some determined animals that still sample them, but on the whole, few things will bother to eat food that has been processed in a bokashi bin – and that means you can dispose of waste bread and dairy products in a much more environmentally friendly manner.
How Do You Add Bokashi Waste to Your Compost Bin?
Firstly, you need an active compost bin that has not been started using bokashi waste.
If you add bokashi to a bin that only contains bokashi waste, you will not get compost.
You need the microbes and worms found in traditional composting if it is going to decompose as compost.
Before you add the bokashi waste, it is a good idea to turn your compost pile and aerate it a bit.
Check it is neither too dry, nor too wet, and add more fresh ingredients to correct any problems – such as card if the bin is too wet, or greens if the bin is too dry.
Once you are satisfied that your compost bin is operating properly, tip your bokashi compost bin into a separate container, or onto a sheet of cardboard or plastic, and use a fork to break up the waste.
This will help you to distribute it evenly throughout your compost bin when you add it, ensuring it breaks down more quickly and effectively.
Next, make a hole in the middle of your compost bin, and tip the bokashi waste into the gap.
When you’ve finished these steps, you can cover it over with normal compost, and this should further help to deter any interested animals.
You can stir the bokashi around a bit if you want to, but don’t bring too much of it to the surface.
A bit of mixing may help it to break down fast.
Next, add a bit of garden soil if you have some available, and then tear up some cardboard.
Bokashi waste tends to be quite wet and counts as a large addition of greens, so you need to add plenty of cardboard or another source of carbon to keep the bin balanced and soak up excess moisture.
Other carbon-rich options include newspaper, shredded paper, straw, egg cartons, nutshells, etc. if your bin gets too wet, it will become anaerobic and will smell horrible, so don’t forget to add this extra material.
Stir the bin up a bit more to get everything incorporated, and then cover the bokashi waste up to keep the food hidden and avoid attracting animals.
What Problems Might I Encounter?
You will rarely experience issues if you add bokashi compost to an established compost heap.
Toss some soil in to help boost the microbes that will break the bokashi down.
You might notice a bad smell for a few days, as the wet bokashi is often keen to turn anaerobic. As long as you have added carbon, this should go away with time.
If your bin stays wet and smelly, add more newspaper or cardboard to help absorb the moisture.
Works Fine: Structural materials like sticks will also help, introducing more air pockets to the bin so that the good bacteria can function properly.
You can add bokashi compost to your normal compost bin without an issue in most cases.
It’s a good idea to check that your bin is healthy first, as this will help it to deal with the addition of greens, but otherwise, you can just mix bokashi in and it will soon break down, adding to the quantity of compost you can harvest each year!
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