Paul Gale-Baker’s Bokashi bin tips
Paul Gale-Baker, from Sustainable Macleod, tells you all you need to know about Bokashi bins.
It’s important to realise that a Bokashi bin doesn’t compost. Rather, the food is fermented using the Bokashi ‘bran’ that you sprinkle over each layer. This is wheat-based, containing a powerful microbial mix which ferments the food waste anaerobically. That means the bin can be completely sealed with the lid so no odour escapes.
Here are 9 tips when using Bokashi bins:
- Bokashi bins are designed to be used indoors – don’t put in the sun.
- Use the Bokashi bin for foods that can’t go into a worm farm or compost system – cooked food, meat (cooked and uncooked), citrus peels/onion skins, chillis, egg shells and dairy.
- Cut food scraps up into 5 cm size bits.
- Press the scraps down (an old potato masher from the Op Shop works well).
- Sprinkle the bran mix lightly – too much doesn’t help – use a little more bran mix if you are adding more protein.
- Keep the lid tightly closed.
- Drain off the liquid through the tap – this is great on the garden when diluted (1 teaspoon of juice with 2-3 litres of water and apply directly to the soil. To fertilise trees or shrubs, dilute 2 teaspoons with 2-3 litres of water) – great for the garden!
- When the bin is full, bury the contents in the garden or in your compost bin.
- The fermented contents add a fabulous rich mix of microbes and nutrients to the garden.
Bokashis can be so useful. For example, although we use our compost bins in our everyday life, we take our bokashi away with us when we go camping in a beach side camping area in East Gippsland. A family of four can place all food scraps in the bokashi over 2 weeks and then just carry it home and put in our garden. Also my daughter, who lives in a flat in inner Melbourne with no yard, keeps her bokashi in the kitchen and then drops it off at our place every few weeks when full.
I started using a bokashi about three ago now, with the intention of swapping over to an alternative compost system. Life got in the way which has resulted in me still using the bokashi. I find it a good alternative, and imagine it would be for people who don’t have room for outdoor compost systems. You just need to find some soil to bury the contents of your bin once it is full! At least it is a neat ‘carry all’ so even if you need to transport your scraps to another location, it’s a good traveler.