Bokashi Balcony Composting 1 year on – what I have learnt

 

I have been composting and trying to reduce my food waste going to the landfill for 12 months now.

It’s incredible to think that food that comes from the other side of the world is put back to where you live. Trying to reduce food waste cannot be done unless you really commit to it. But I have learnt that the secret is to do it slowly within your comfort zone and you are definitely able to sustain and contribute positively to the planet and the wider society.

I live in a flat with a tiny 1.5m x 1.5m square balcony so composting is a big challenge. But given there are so many people who are living in flats and I hope this post will encourage and help people who are also trying to do the same.

What I have learnt about Bokashi composting after 12 months

The fact that you can compost any kind of food is a big advantage. I feel so good!

Bokashi will turn into compost at an amazing speed! When the condition is right (warm days, soil not wet) the buried fermented Bokashi will turn into soil within 3 weeks!

It’s educational. My daughter now knows different types of composting and she knows that the food comes from the earth and we put it back to the earth. We are part of the Mother Nature and I think it’s so fundamental!

Even if you have a small space outside of your home you can do Bokashi.

It never smells rotten. If it smells rotten, something has gone wrong. Bokashi fermented food will just have sour smell like an odd apple cider. And you can only smell it when you open the lid.

I love my Bokashi tea (check my recent post). It’s a free fertiliser for my plants. And the fertilisers really make the plants healthy. It’s basically probiotic drinks for the plants.

Bokashi composting process itself is actually results in “pre-compost”. So you still have do something about it to close the loop. You can use the fermented Bokashi for various sites: bury in the ground, put in the container pot (but you must choose bigger enough pot to do that), add to a normal compost bin to speed up the composting process, give it to worms in the wormery. You can do so many good with it.

Buying bokashi bran is expensive so I make my own fresh and use it without drying it as drying of the fresh bokashi bran is nearly impossible in the UK. But if you live in a small space keeping a large sac of wheat bran is not very space efficient. I make a fresh batch every 2-3months or so and found that the freshly made bokashi bran will go rancid after 2-3 month of being ready (it takes about 3 weeks to mature the bran and then lasts for further 2-3 months). However, THERE IS AN ANSWER TO THAT! You can use activated EM (EM-A) and spray it onto the food instead using the bran. This way, you only have to have the spray and not the bulky bran. The fermented food will just be a bit wetter but that’s ok because you get more Bokashi tea! You can also use other cheaper materials to make bokashi bran alternative such as coffee grounds, sawdust, and shredded newspaper.

Overall

Bokashi composting definitely suits my lifestyle. It is very easy to maintain. It’s hard to go wrong. It never smells and effective microorganisms helped my plants grow and be healthy. As long as you make your own Bokashi bran or EMA spray the running cost of Bokashi composting is very low. It can be difficult if you don’t have anywhere to bury your fermented food. So make sure you know what to do when the fermented food is ready. No rotten smell, beneficial effect to the plants and environment by the effective microorganisms, and the fact that it turns the food into soil so quickly really makes Bokashi composting special. Knowing what positive things you can do by just composting your kitchen waste, I don’t think I can now live without Bokashi composting.

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