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Bokashi Composting: Troubleshooting Tips

  • 3 min read

The important reason to compost is to individually reduce our environmental footprint by eliminating the greenhouse gases created by our food, home and garden waste in landfill, and instead sequester atmospheric Carbon into our soil.

A fabulous outcome is that we can make that rich and vital soil that grows vibrant plants from our recycled waste.  It enables us to create closed loop recycling systems by growing our own food and enhancing the health of our patch of Earth.

Black bokashi bucket with food waste

Compost is an essential input into our garden soils as it enhances soil structure and moisture retention due to the increased microbial diversity and activity.  This makes nutrients and water readily available for plant uptake.

 

Brilliant Bokashi!

Bokashi Composting uses an anaerobic fermentation process to break down kitchen waste. Microorganisms are added via a Bokashi bran or liquid which ferment the food waste and prevent putrefaction.

Bokashi bran

Bokashi bran helps to ferment the food waste and reduce odours


Once in contact with soil, the fermented Bokashi waste rapidly breaks down into nutrient-rich fertiliser and supplies microbial life to the soil.


This method of composting kitchen scraps is one of the easiest and most low-maintenance forms of composting, but occasionally you can run into minor issues so we have outlined some simple answers below:

Common Bokashi Problems  Solution
Bin does not smell like fermenting food Add more Bokashi bran, mix the bran into the food waste and press the air out with a potato masher.
Fruit flies or other insects in the Bokashi bucket Make sure your lid is properly closed and airtight to prevent insects getting in the bucket. Because the environment is acidic inside the bucket, insects can’t live in it. If in doubt, add more bran to make the food waste more acidic, give it a good mix and remove air with a potato masher or similar. Replace the lid if there is any cracking or wear and tear – this can be every few years.
White mould in the Bokashi bucket If the mould is fluffy and white, the bucket is working properly, and contents are fermenting properly so well done!
Green or blue mould, presence of maggots or strong rancid smell Unfriendly bacteria have taken over, so it is best to dig a deep hole in the garden, empty contents of bucket into hole with some extra bran, then bury the lot and start again. The most common reason is either not enough bran was added – particularly if there was more meat, dairy, or fats in the bucket.
No liquid is draining out of the tap Depending on what you added to the bucket, you may have only a small amount of liquid – i.e., foods with higher water content like fruit and vegetables, will produce more liquid than food scraps like bread, grains, cereals etc.
Check that your tap is not blocked. When you clean your bucket, run some water through your tap as sometimes bran or other small food particles can clog it up.
Tap is leaking Try removing and refitting it – sometimes the washers get displaced if the tap has been overtightened and if the washer is deformed, replace it. Sometimes a bit of plumbing tape on the thread is all that is needed. Bear in mind that the tap and washers, is subject to wear and tear and may need replacing every few years.

 

Bokashi bucket with food scraps and white mould

White mould is normal in a Bokashi composting system

 

For more information about how to use a Bokashi composting system check out our article. If you would like to learn more about all types of composting, including Bokashi, then we recommend our Urban Composting Options Workshop which is held monthly at our Perth Eco and Garden Store.

We are always available at Urban Revolution to answer any of your questions about Bokashi composting, and we stock spare Bokashi parts in our Perth Eco and Garden Store.

Bokashi Items we stock:

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