Start making great compost with our simple how-to guide to making your own bokashi bucket using upcycled materials.
Bokashi ‘composting’ is an incredible force for good. It’s often touted as a space-saving ‘compost’ solution for apartment dwellers. But bokashi is something I think we should all do. Whether we live on a farm, urban block or apartment.
This is because bokashi is fundamentally different from any other method of composting. In fact, it’s not really composting at all. While traditional methods involve decomposition, bokashi buckets involve fermentation.
Yes, that’s right! Bokashi uses the same bacteria you make your sauerkraut with on your compost. In bokashi, lacto bacilli are applied to your organic waste in an anaerobic environment. And, essentially, they pickle it. Once mature, your pickled bokashi mix is added directly to the earth and covered where it will provide a veritable smörgåsbord for the soil food web.
Bokashi, however, does need to be composted (ie. decomposed) by the soil food web once it is pickled to maturity. In many cases this involves creating a “soil factory” or adding bokashi to a hot compost mix.
Bokashi tea can also be used to condition your soil factory or compost pile, cycling nutrients in a bio-available form to your soil ecosystem. Some people call bokashi a “pre-compost”, which is a much more accurate description of what it actually is.
We have been using bokashi as part of our composting system at our place for the last three years and we really think it creates a great, humus rich soil.
But bokashi buckets often come with an expensive price tag. So, how do we make our own DIY bokashi bucket? It’s easy (and free!).
All you need is:
- Two food grade buckets of the same size. We get them for free from a cake factory near our home.
- One tight fitting lid
- A plate or other lid that fits snugly in the bucket
- A drill
How to make your bokashi bucket:
Ensure your buckets nest nicely, with a little air gap between the base of the inner bucket and that of the outer bucket. This is where your bokashi “tea” will be stored.
Drill holes in the base of one of your buckets. We used a 5mm drill bit.
Nest your holey bucket inside the other bucket.
Add scraps, and cover with a bokashi innoculant. You can purchase innoculated bokashi grains from eco-stores and hardware stores. We mist our bokashi with activated EM1 liquid. Others swear by simply adding matter high in lacto bacilli (ie. kefir or yoghurt whey or even sauerkraut).
Cover with a plate or lid and press down scraps to expel air. You may need to add a rock as a weight to keep the compression on your scraps.
Cover your bucket with the lid. Keep adding scraps and innoculant and pressing it down until it’s full. Leave it to ferment for a further week (or more!) and then your pickled scraps and the resultant bokashi “tea” will be ready to offer back to the soil.