By Vina Medenilla
Natural fertilizers are every farmer’s and gardener’s secret to healthy soil and a chemical-free growing environment. There are several processes to make such nutritious plant food, and among them is bokashi composting.
Bokashi is a Japanese word that translates to ‘fermented organic matter.’ This type of composting is an odorless, space-efficient, and faster means of turning kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost.
This composting system delivers two products that gardeners can benefit from. The first is the bokashi tea or juice, which refers to the liquid extracted from the bokashi bucket, and the other is the bokashi compost, both of which act as soil amendments.
Lou Dizon is a home gardener who likes to keep her garden natural by practicing bokashi composting.
She shared with us some things that have been helpful in her bokashi journey. Here they are:
Two bokashi bins per household. Dizon recommends having at least two bokashi bins per household. This way, one bucket can be filled with kitchen waste while the other composting bin ferments.
“Most households take about two weeks to fill a bucket with food waste. Two weeks is the preferred amount of time for the food waste in your other bokashi bucket to complete its fermentation before burying it in the ground or your soil factory,” Dizon explained.
Segregate the raw and uncooked. While all kitchen waste can be put in one bin, Dizon prefers to have two bins: one for raw or uncooked kitchen scraps like coffee grounds and eggshells, and one for cooked items like leftover rice, bread, and meat bones.
She also buries these scraps in separate areas and uses them for different purposes. “Those [scraps and compost] from the raw waste go into my leafy greens and fruiting veggies, while those from the cooked scraps go to our fruit trees and ornamentals.”
Manage mold. If white mold appears in the compost bin, do not panic, because this can be dealt with by adding more bokashi bran. “If this doesn’t work, just dump that batch, clean the bucket, and start again. Make sure to tightly cover the bucket.”
However, if black, green, or blue molds appear, this needs double-checking as something may have gone wrong, said Dizon.
Dilute the bokashi juice. Bokashi tea must be diluted before use. Do this by adding a teaspoon of bokashi tea to two to three liters of water.
Do not spray or apply this to the leaves to prevent burning them.
Bokashi liquid isn’t only beneficial to the garden, but to other parts of the home, too. According to Dizon, concentrated bokashi juice can be poured directly into toilets and kitchen drains to help remove sludge and eliminate bad odors.
Compost materials well. Before planting any crops, make sure that buried fermented organic matter has fully broken down and composted. This is because some plants do not tolerate acidic soil and may not thrive in this growing condition.
For more information, visit What’s Growing On?