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Bokashi: An easier way of composting

The December Sow Good Saturday featured a demonstration of bokashi by Mitchell Provensal.

Bokashi means "fermented organic matter" in Japanese. It's a way for you to preserve all food waste from your home which you can later add to your garden or compost bin to increase fertility. The bokashi "composting" system is simple and easy for any size living space and has a minimal smell. Since the food waste is fermented, it will deter pests and bugs from eating it.


Sealable container - (5 gallon bucket or anything with a tight fitting lid will work)

Bokashi Bran or Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) or EM-1 (Effective Microorganisms)

Food Scraps - (meat, cheese, dairy, bones, etc. can all be used!)


  1. Place an inch or two of shredded paper or cardboard at the bottom of your container. This will help absorb any liquids from the food waste.

  2. Sprinkle a handful of bokashi bran (or spray your LAB or EM-1) over the shredded paper.

  3. As you have food scraps, open your container and layer the food scraps along with a handful of bokashi bran (or LAB/EM-1 spray). Try to only open the container once a day to minimize oxygen getting in. Every inch or two of food scraps, stop and sprinkle more bran. Layer food scraps and bokashi bran like lasagna.

  4. Press all of the food waste down to remove as much air around the food as possible.

  5. Repeat this until the container is full. Close the container and let it ferment for 2 weeks undisturbed.

  6. Once the food has been fermented you can bury it in your garden bed 6 - 8 inches down or added to the compost pile and cover with leaves/wood chips.

  7. Start a new bucket of bokashi!

Bokashi Tips

  • Don’t add foods that are mostly liquid like milk or soup. Strain liquid off of the soup and add the solids.

  • If food is moldy throw it out or add to a hot compost pile. The bacteria on the moldy food could out compete the good bacteria on the bran or spray.

  • When burying your bucket in the garden, let it sit for two weeks until planting. The fermented food waste is acidic and can burn up plant roots.

  • Bokashi is an anaerobic process, meaning it does not need or want oxygen. Be sure to press down on your food scraps when adding new material.

Where to buy bokashi bran?

You can find many places on the internet to buy bokashi bran. Here are the places we have used.

You can make your own Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) spray for very cheap instead of buying bran.

You can use LAB/EM-1 to inoculate coffee grounds, paper, bran, or another carbon source to make your own bran for bokashi

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