Bokashi Bran Composting (how to make and use premium Bokashi bran at home)

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Bokashi bran is a clever ingredient when added to compost because it aids in accelerated fermentation with the work of essential microorganisms. Suppose you are a gardener who needs a swift, practical, and eco-friendly solution. In that case, Bokashi bran composting can be the answer to reducing food waste quickly and promoting the healthy growth of your plants.

Bokashi bran is a dried, microbe-inoculated grain bran (including lactobacillus, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria) used as a compost accelerator. It produces fermented organic waste and turns your food waste, including meat and dairy, into a valuable soil amendment. You can purchase or make your own homemade bran by mixing it along with other kitchen waste.

closeup of kitchen scraps in bucket sprinkled with bran ready for compost

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Although it only takes a few steps to set up your home compost pile, in this article, we’ll explore the components of Bokashi composting and why it’s considered a practical and helpful accelerator for all home gardeners. I will share some ways you can create DIY Bokashi recipes, a liquid fertilizer, and the perfect ratio you can add to your kitchen scraps that are anything but ordinary!

Humble Highlights

  • Save time with these 6 done-for-you steps to create rich, ready-made Bokashi compost that you can use to feed your garden plants and fertilize your green friends. 
  • Discover how making your own Bokashi tea can help reduce odors while providing your garden with excellent nutrition so you can keep your plants healthy while providing homemade food year-round. 
  • Uncover the outrageous benefits of Bokashi composting so you can reduce household waste, feed your garden, and achieve mind-blowing results – AND why a complete setup is easier than you think! 

EM-1 In Bokashi Bran – Microbes That Accelerates Decomposition

Bokashi’s benefits specifically come from the intricate microbial work in the bokashi bran. EM-1 (effective microorganisms) adds beneficial microbes, including Lactobacillus, yeasts, and phototrophic bacteria that serve as an inoculant to infuse the bran and ferment the organic waste.

how to make bokashi bran

EM-1 is generally a mixture of effective microorganisms, water, sugar, rice or wheat bran, and molasses, making a nutrient-rich soil compost. 1

DIY Recipes To Make Your Own Bokashi Compost Accelerator

You can easily create your bran at home. Let it ferment, and check how much Bokashi bran you should add to the bucket. With various Bokashi bran recipes available, the process is straightforward, cost-effective, and offers ample choices to suit your preferences.

alternative to bokashi bran

Six Easy Steps For Your Home-Made Bokashi Bran 

To make Bokashi bran at home, here are the ingredients and simple steps you can follow:

Ingredients

  • 2 parts wheat or rice
  • 1 part molasses
  • 1 part water
  • 1-part mix of EM

Steps

  1. Place 2 cups of wheat or rice bran in a mixing bowl. Ensure the bran is dry and free of any contaminants.
  2. Mix two tablespoons of EM-1 solution in a separate container with 1 cup of water. Stir well to ensure even distribution. 2
  3. Mix equal parts molasses and water. For example, if you add 1 cup of molasses, add 1 cup of water. Stir well to dissolve completely. Then, combine all the ingredients by hand-mixing.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container, let it sit in a warm spot, and allow it to ferment for at least two weeks.
  5. The presence of white mold when making the bran is expected, so don’t feel like you’ve done something wrong when it appears. This mold is a beneficial fungus that is part of the fermentation process initiated by the microorganisms. The microbes will inoculate it to a fermented organic matter.
  6. You can store your finished product in a cold, dark place, avoiding direct sunlight and hindering the microbes from thriving.
how much bokashi bran to use

2 Parts Bokashi Bran And 1 Part Brown (Carbon-Rich) Medium (Sawdust, Coffee Grounds, Newspaper)

You can use Bokashi bran with any carbon-rich medium, such as newspapers, wood shavings, dregs (remnants left after brewing or winemaking), or rice hulls. Ensure that you shred them into smaller pieces and that are dry before they go into the compost bucket. Layer the waste and the Bokashi bran properly.

The ratio can vary, but a common starting point is roughly two parts bran to 1-part browns added to the compost. Add sugar, water, and microbe inoculant to create the ideal environment to ferment the scraps. 3

1 Part Bokashi And 1 Part Green Compost (Nitrogen-Rich) Materials (Grass, Vegetable And Fruit Peelings)

The ideal ratio of Bokashi added to the compost of green (nitrogen-rich) materials in a composting system can vary. Still, a common guideline is to aim for approximately a 1:1 mix.

Gather fresh green compost materials such as kitchen scraps (vegetable and fruit peelings), chemical-free grass clippings, and plant trimmings, and then add bokashi bran.

how to make bokashi bran from coffee grounds

Start with a layer of the green compost materials. This initial layer serves as the base for your compost. Sprinkle a generous layer of Bokashi bran over the green compost materials. Keep layering until the bucket is full.

Ensure a diverse mix of materials for a well-balanced compost. Periodically press down the layers to eliminate too many air pockets and encourage anaerobic fermentation. Seal the composting container or bin to maintain the necessary anaerobic conditions.

50% Is The Ideal Homemade Bokashi Bran / Scraps Ratio

When using homemade bran, start with 50% and adjust as needed. As a minimum, adding about 1 tablespoon of bran for every inch of kitchen waste added to the heap is recommended.

You may use a wide range of compost mix, but large bones, thick branches, and other non-organic items are unsuitable for Bokashi composting and must be processed through alternative methods. 4

You can also consider grinding large bones into powder or boiling them to make a broth. These softened bones can then be added to the bokashi bucket.

Although perhaps not a household name, Bokashi bran is quickly becoming a favorite composting method for many home gardeners. This straightforward process requires just a few pieces of standard equipment. However, the real benefit of this method is its utilization of the anaerobic process (without air), meaning you can process meats and fish, further reducing household waste. Take a moment and check out the video below that explains how you can get up and running with this simple method.

Humble Tip:
When composting kitchen waste, adhere to the recommended guidelines of using 1-2 tablespoons of Bokashi for every couple of inches of food scraps to optimize efficiency.

Bokashi Tea As A Liquid Fertilizer, Nutrient Booster And Odor Reducer

Bokashi leachate is particularly beneficial by adding to the soil, as it delivers beneficial microbes to the root level, promoting plant growth, health, and vitality. It can easily be collected from the drainage plate of the composting system.

Crafting Bokashi Tea: Dilution Rate Of 1:100

Drain the liquid from your Bokashi composter into a separate container using the spout provided. Dilute the Bokashi liquid with water. The recommended dilution rate is around 1:100, but this can be adjusted based on the fluid volume and the plants’ sensitivity. Less sensitive plants may tolerate a lower dilution rate. 5

making botashi bran with shredded newspaper

Application As A Nutrient Booster – Spray On Foliage

When spraying the tea, applying the diluted solution to the soil is recommended, as the foliage may be more sensitive to high acidity levels. The acidic nature of the leachate necessitates proper dilution before application.

It can also unblock slow and smelly drains and reduce the odor produced in the composting system. It enhances slower-producing compost piles and even acts as a weed killer, resulting in healthy soil. If you observe a smell in the composting bin, it can indicate that you need to add more Bokashi bran to the mixture. 6

Humble Tip:
When applying Bokashi compost tea as a fertilizer for your plants, the key is to start modestly and adjust the amount of Bokashi compost tea concentration as necessary to minimize the risk of over-fertilizing your greens.

Proper Disposal Methods For Bokashi Tea – Dilute Then Dispose

Before disposal, dilute the tea with water. This simple step helps distribute its nutrients more evenly and prevents any potential harm to plants if applied undiluted.

If you don’t have immediate use for the tea, consider pouring it down your sink or drainage system. The beneficial microorganisms can contribute to maintaining a healthy plumbing system.

However, you’ll want to avoid disposing of Bokashi leachate directly into storm drains or natural water bodies, as it may affect the local ecosystem.

bokashi bran composting

Conclusion

Whether you are in an apartment with limited space or have a sprawling backyard garden, the adaptability of Bokashi makes it a versatile choice. You can enhance the soil with a Bokashi composting system, offering a fast and efficient decomposition of organic waste into valuable compost.

The microbes in Bokashi bran contribute to its role as a compost accelerator, resulting in fermented food waste efficiently. Notably, Bokashi bran will help suppress unpleasant smells. It can also be used to add to the soil microbial diversity of your garden.

Making Bokashi bran at home is straightforward; various recipes offer flexibility in ingredients, and you can add dregs, eggshells, and chemical-free grass from your yard. Remember, getting the proper moisture level and using the correct components is essential. With this information, you can make your outdoor and indoor Bokashi system work.

So, embrace this eco-friendly practice, reduce your carbon footprint, tailor it to your living situation, and witness the transformation of your kitchen waste into a nutrient-rich plant food!

Do you currently use Bokashi bran composting as your method of choice to reduce household waste and feed your garden plants? If you do, we’d love to hear about your success. Please take a moment to drop us a line below and connect with your fellow growers!

SOURCES

  1. Sustainable America – Bokashi Composting
  2. National Library Of Medicine, National Center For Biotechnology Information – Optimization Of Bokashi-Composting Process Using Effective Microorganisms 1 In Smart Composting Bin
  3. Sarhad Jounal Of Agriculture – Role Of Organic Manure Bokashi Improving Plant Growth And Nutrition: A Review
  4. Maine Organic Farmers And Gardeners – Bokashi A Compost Alternative
  5. Wikipedia – Bokashi (Horticulture)
  6. ResearchGate – Bokashi As An Amendment And Source Of Nitrogen In Sustainable Agriculture Systems: A Review

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