Many people do not know that there are different ways of composting, each with its advantages and disadvantages. And while the majority of individuals with gardens and enough outdoor space tend to focus on open-air composting, we believe Bokashi composting is the best overall solution for bio-waste management. Why? Well, mainly because quality Bokashi composters (Bokashi bins) make reduction and reuse of food waste extremely practical inside every home. This includes even the smallest city apartments. As such, there are no excuses to not handle bio-waste responsibly. In case you are wondering why compost in the first place, we encourage you to check out our “Why compost if in nature everything works normally?” article.
Before we take a deeper dive into details of how to use Bokashi compost fermented mass, we want to point out that technically speaking, the Bokashi decomposition process is not composting but fermentation. There are specific factors affecting the type of decomposition that will take place; for instance, in the case of the Bokashi method, there must be no air (O2 conc. < 5mg/l). Moreover, unlike traditional composting, the Bokashi process does not produce soil but a pre-compost mass, also known as fermented mass or bokashi cake. It is the use of the latter that we will focus on herein.
How to Use Bokashi Compost - 7 Effective Ways to Benefit from Fermented Mass
It takes about 14 days for a Bokashi bin to turn your food waste into fermented mass. So, once that happens, how to use Bokashi compost cake? To make the most of this pre-compost mass, you should aim to mix it with soil where the biota (t.i. bacteria, fungi, worms, etc.) will continue the process of decomposition and finally produce highly nutrient soil. However, there are other ways.
Below we will cover 7 ways to use Bokashi pre-compost mass. Some use cases will be great for you if you own a garden or an outdoor compost, but there will also be some solutions for Bokashi composter users that are using the Bokashi method solely to reduce the amount of organic waste.
How to Use Bokashi Compost - Trench Method
This option is suitable for you if you own (or have access to) a garden since you will need to dig a larger hole (trench). You then put your Bokashi pre-compost mass in that hole and mix it with a couple of shovels of soil. Next, you cover the mix with at least six inches of soil. Moving forward, you let nature take its course for the next 2 weeks though some larger pieces of food (e.g. bones) may take longer to fully decompose. Then you will have highly nutrient soil ready for planting.
How to Use Bokashi Compost - Trench Method: Small Holes
This method of how to use Bokashi compost fermented mass is an alternative to the one described above. Instead of digging one larger hole, you dig several smaller holes and split your Bokashi cake into smaller portions.
The “small holes” method is suitable for users that do not have a large area of bare soil, where the entire batch of pre-compost mass could be buried. Of course, it is also a great way to use the nutrients to feed several different plants and areas.
How to Use Bokashi Compost - Bury in a Compost Pile
There are many users that use a Bokashi composter inside their kitchen, while they also have a larger composting pile outside. If you are one of those, you may bury your Bokashi cake into your compost pile. That way the beneficial effective microorganism (EM) in Bokashi pre-compost mass will serve as a boost to the entire composting process. Moreover, this is particularly practical in the winter months, when your compost can be extremely stagnant.
How to Use Bokashi Compost - Add it to a Worm Bin
Another popular type of composting is vermicomposting. The latter uses worms to process the organic material. Well, in case you have that type of compost, you can also add your Bokashi fermented mass to it. However, you have to be cautious while doing so. You see, Bokashi cake is fairly acidic (pH 3 - 4) and worms do not appreciate that. As such, you need to break down your pre-compost mass into smaller portions and observe how your worms react to it. Over time they will get used to it and you will be able to add the entire batch at once. Moreover, it is important to add some extra carbon sources (e.g. paper or cardboard) to your vermicompost. With that, you ensure that the C:N ratio is properly maintained. It is also recommended to add some material (e.g. lime) to neutralize acidity in order for worms to thrive.
How to Use Bokashi Compost - Making a Soil Factory
This method of how to use Bokashi compost is becoming extremely popular among Bokashi bin owners. Probably because it is very simple - essentially you take a large container and empty the content from your Bokashi composter in it. Then you add some garden soil to the same container and mix the content.
A Bokashi soil factory is a great method for users with limited garden space. Moreover, there are many people with larger balconies practicing this way of using Bokashi cake and then utilizing the end product for their potted decorative plants and herbs. Another advantage of this method is that it will also work well during the winter when soil may otherwise be frozen.
The above 5 methods are most suited for users that either have their own gardens or potted plants and who do not mind getting their hands dirty. However, as promised above, we also want to provide users who do not have a direct option to use their Bokashi cake with a valid option to still learn how to use Bokashi compost. Below are two popular methods if you are in it just to minimize organic waste.
How to Use Bokashi Compost - Donate It
If you are not into gardening, you may not be aware of it, but Bokashi cake is very valuable. It contains a lot of beneficial effective microorganisms and is full of nutrients that plants can benefit from. As such, we strongly encourage you to find a friend or a local gardener/farmer who is into organic gardening and would be able to make the most of your pre-compost mass. While we encourage you to stick to donating the fermented mass, there are farmers that would be prepared to offer some eco crops or even money for it. Just something to keep at the back of your mind.
How to Use Bokashi Compost - Store It
This method is not as practical since it is limited to the size of your indoor composter bin. However, if you have a larger indoor composter on your hands, you can simply let the contents of your Bokashi bin sit in it for some time. Whether until you will be able to deploy it yourself (let’s say you play on doing some gardening shortly) or in case your friend or a local gardener will come to collect it soon. Storing Bokashi cake in an airtight container for an extra week or two, or even longer is not an issue.