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Make a bokashi compost

09 Jun 2016

If you don’t have room for a full-on compost bin or a worm farm, grab a couple of used 10-litre Resene paint buckets and make a bokashi compost.

A bokashi (Japanese for ‘fermented organic matter’) is fed with kitchen scraps – and because it’s airtight and odourless, you can also feed it meat and dairy scraps. A bokashi inoculant containing wheat germ, bran or sawdust, molasses and microorganisms is layered in with the scraps, then the mixture is left to ferment for 10 or more days. It can then be dug into the garden.  

You can also fertilise the garden with any liquid produced by drilling holes in the base of the main bucket and setting it inside a second one to collect the drained liquid. Or you can get even fancier and attach a tap to the bucket to draw off liquid.

You’ll need two 10-litre plastic Resene buckets; one lid; a drill; bokashi inoculant (available online or at gardening stores).

Step 1: Thoroughly wash the buckets. Drill 20 to 30 holes with a large drill bit into the bottom of one bucket.

Step 2: Start adding food scraps.

Step 3: Add a tablespoon of the inoculant.

Step 4: Set the drilled bucket into the other bucket and cover with the lid. Put a piece of brick or squat jar or plastic tub into the bottom bucket so that there’s plenty of room to collect the liquid. Keep adding food scraps and inoculant at the ratio suggested on the packet. Once it is full, leave for 10 days then use the compost by digging it into the garden. In the meantime, check the lower bucket for liquid, dilute it, then use it to water the garden.

Top tip: The bucket needs to be air-tight for the contents to ferment properly. Bokashi is an anaerobic system. If the lid doesn't fit as tightly as you'd like, place a cloth or old t-shirt over the top of the bucket, before fastening the lid. 

Published: 09 Jun 2016