Make Your Own Bokashi

Bokashi is an incredible substance that we use for so many different purposes on our farm and in our household. Bokashi composting is an anaerobic process in which inoculated bran actually ferments kitchen waste (including the meat and dairy, which are typically excluded from household compost systems). We use bokashi directly mixed into soil for our crops, we use it to make a compost tea to water the garden, and we use it to reduce odor in the kitty litter box too.

Bokashi is super useful… but it’s also super expensive! Luckily, it’s super easy to make it yourself!

You’ll need a large, heavy duty garbage bag, a bin or tote that can be sealed, a second bin or bucket that you can mix the ingredients in, and the ingredients listed below. We bought the molasses at our local co-op, the EM-1 inoculant we ordered online, and our local feed store carries 50lb bags of wheat bran – it’s not hard to find the ingredients, and they are inexpensive. You might want gloves, the process gets sticky and messy.

Ingredient10 lbs50 lbs2,000 lbs
EM-1 Inoculant4 Tablespoons3/4 Cup1 Gallon
Molasses4 Tablespoons3/4 Cup1 Gallon
Water10 Cups3-4 Gallons*75-100 Gallons
Wheat Bran10 lbs50 lbs2000 lbs
* We make 50 lb batches and usually we need 6-7 gallons of water to achieve the optimal “beach sand” consistency.

This is the recipe that we used as a basis for our process, from which the ingredient list above is drawn.

  • Set up your two plastic bins (it’s best to make the mix where you’re going to store it if you’re making 50lbs or more). Stage your ingredients, water, etc nearby.
  • Mix one gallon of water with the molasses to dissolve the molasses. Mix in the EM-1 inoculant.

  • Mix the liquid thoroughly into the bran (we do this in the plastic bin). This can be a little difficult to get it mixed throughout; add more water if you need. We use our hands to mix – we found that using any kind of tool didn’t work as well as simply getting our hands dirty.
  • The consistency should be like beach sand. Squeeze it into a ball. If it holds its shape and no liquid comes out, it is the correct moisture. Put into bag or container. If it is too dry, add more water and mix.
  • Once the consistency is right, we scoop it into the garbage bag (pro tip: put the bin where you’re going to store the bokashi, and put the garbage bag inside the bin, then fill it in place – bokashi is HEAVY when wet and it will bust the bag if you try to pick it up when it’s full).
  • Tie the bag tightly, squeezing out excess air (this is important, you want as little air as possible in the bag, since the process is anaerobic). Cover the bin or container tightly.
  • Place your bin somewhere warm and out of the way. We put it in the garage. Let it ferment for at least two weeks. We usually leave ours for a month.
We recommend having a skeptical feral supervisor to ensure you’ve done everything properly.
  • When fermentation is complete, you may notice some white mold on/in the bokashi. This is good. Black or green mold means some air got into the container or it was too moist and this is NOT GOOD.
  • You can use the bokashi as is without drying, but it must be stored in a closed container. Fresh (wet) bokashi is good for up to 2 weeks, or you can dry it for long-term storage.
  • To dry your bokashi, spread it on a tarp and use a rake or your hands to break up clods and allow the mixture to dry evenly. It usually takes a couple of nice warm days for it to dry. When there is no longer any moisture, you can store your dried bokashi indefinitely (in an airtight container; we use 5 gallon buckets).
  • Keep bokashi airtight during storage, whether dry or wet.

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