What is Bokashi?

There are different methods of converting organic waste in to different forms that are useful for growing plants. Bokashi is one of the methods used in relation to conversion of organic waste into another form. The name bokashi is derived from a Japanese word and the method was actually developed in Japan. Bokashi is used to convert organic waste (specifically food waste)to another form that can be used as a soil amendment. The amendment can add nutrients to the soil and improves soil texture. There are many people that consider bokashi as a method of composting. Actually, there are some reasons to consider bokashi as composting. However there are some differences from the usual composting and vermicomposting among which the following are the important ones

  • Basically bokashi involves the process of fermentation where specialist bacteria are used
  • The end result of bokashi is not a material that is decomposed
  • Bokashi can not be used in a same way like a mature compost. It has to be exposed to a situation where further composting can take place
  • Bokashi has some liquid products that can also be used for growing plants
  • The most interesting character of bokashi is that almost all inputs of carbon, energy and nutrients from the organic waste can be utilized by plants with no (or very little)emission of greenhouse gases
  • It is difficult for bokashi to apply it in a large scale like large scale composting

Bokashi has its own distinct process. The first step to be done is to inoculate with a bacteria known as Lactobacilli. These types of bacteria will convert a fraction of the carbohydrates in the input to lactic acid through a fermentation process. These types of bacteria are used to start the process and can be purchased from different sources. In making bokashi, usually, an air tight bin or container (vessel) has to be used since the process takes place in anaerobic condition. After inoculation of the organic material with bokashi inoculant, it takes very few weeks (starting from two weeks) for the bokashi to be ready for use. It is always important to keep the bokashi making container under room temperature for a good results.

After making the bokashi, the fermented material can be used as a soil amendment. However, the product cannot be used immediately and directly to the plants we are growing. It has to get mixed with soil first and wait for about two weeks before we plant our vegetables.