Gardening guru Claire Mummery gives us an introduction to bokashi composting, to help bring your soil to life.
Composting is a wonderful way to process food scraps and green waste from your property, reducing what we send to landfill and putting goodness back into your soil. It offers so much more value than any compost you can buy.
I am passionate about bokashi because it is the circular economy of food waste – a simple way to process your kitchen scraps and turn it into valuable soil that is power-packed with microbial goodness, ready to grow more nutrient-rich food.
Bokashi is a closed, cold composting system that ferments food waste without oxygen (an anaerobic system). It was invented in Japan and is now used all over the world, from small apartments to large-scale farms. Today, almost everyone has nutrient-deficient soil and if a nutrient isn't in the soil, the nutritional value of the foods we grow will be affected.
The bokashi system processes all food scraps including meat and small bones, and even shredded paper. It will not process liquids, and I also recommend against sharp shells like oysters or fish frames in your bokashi, to avoid getting cut when you incorporate it into the garden, as these take far longer to break down.
You simply put food scraps and up to a third paper into the bin and spray every layer with a microbial accelerator or bokashi bran until the bin is full, then leave it for 1-2 weeks to ferment. The resulting material can then be added directly to your soil, pots, raised bed or compost pile. It doesn't attract rodents as the food is pickled! Cover with old soil or carbon material, leave for 1-2 weeks and plant straight into it. If you want to plant into it straight away, make sure there is enough soil on top to prevent the plant's roots touching the bokashi for two weeks.
By using bokashi in the garden, our vegetables grow quicker, bringing early maturity with a better colour and cell structure. It also helps to retain moisture in our soils, which is marvellous in the summer heat and drought.
During the fermentation process, bokashi produces a liquid which you can extract every 3-5 days via a tap in the bottom of the bin. This wonder liquid is very potent, with so many incredible uses.
Bokashi liquid, at the correct dilutions, can make a powerful fertiliser straight into the soil, or you can also spray onto your plants both as a feeding regime and for pest control. Neat bokashi juice can even be poured down the drains or toilet, which adds good bacteria to your septic or waterways. The microbial content of this juice will multiply, eating up bad and odorous bacteria.
With all these benefits, it is no wonder that is fast becoming the preferred composting method by many gardeners.
Bokashi composting will:
* Process all your kitchen scraps
* Improve your soil structure
* Enable your plant roots to be stronger and longer
* Add beneficial micro-organisms to your soil
* Boost the immunity of your plants against pest and disease
* Enable more water-holding capacity in your soil, so you need less water over summer
* Improve the colour and cell structure of your plants
* Start repairing your soil to a rich, well-balanced medium
Find out more about Claire Mummery's Grow Inspired Academy at growinspiredacademy.com or follow her on Facebook @growinspiredwithclairemummery or Instagram @grow.inspired.