Japanese composting is a composting method that was developed in the early 1980s by Dr. Teuro Higa at the University of Okinawa. The Japanese composting method is also called Bokasi composting.
Dr. Teuro Higa is best known for his pioneering work on effective microorganisms (EM). It is precisely these microorganisms that are at play during bokashi composting.
Fermentation in the Composting Process
Japanese composting is a completely different way of composting than the hot or cold composting that we are used to. The Japanese word bokashi means “fermented organic matter”, and the bokashi process is only the first half of the composting process.
Unlike other composting methods which are an aerobic process that needs oxygen, bokashi composting is an anaerobic process that takes place without air supply.
We therefore use a special indoor compost bin for the bokashi composting. This compost bin consists of a small room in the bottom where liquid can trickle down. Then there is a main room where food scraps are layered with the active microorganisms. And on top there is an airtight lid. The bin is only opened briefly once a day to add more food scraps and inoculant with effective microorganisms.
When the bin is full, it is set aside for the content to ferment for a good week. Then the fermented food scraps are mixed with soil and covered with a good layer of soil. It then breaks quickly down into homemade compost.
Quick and Easy Composting
There are many benefits to the Japanese composting method. The process is both quick and simple, and the composting can also be done inside. This composting method is perfect for those who live in an apartment and want to compost. Here you can read how it went when I tried bokashi composting in my apartment earlier.
We can also compost fish, meat and dairy products with this technique. It is thus possible to compost large parts of the food waste from an ordinary household.
The liquid that seeps into the bottom of the bin can easily be drained off with the tap in the bokashi bin. This liquid must be drained regularly to avoid odors. However, the compost tea is a super homemade fertilizer for both potted plants and vegetables. It should be diluted a little with water, and then given to plants that need an extra boost of nutrients.
What do you Need to Start?
You don’t need much to get started with the Japanese composting method. It is important that you use a suitable compost bin. You should be able to separate the compost tea that collects at the bottom, and the bin must be airtight. There are several bins you can buy that are made specifically for bokashi composting.
In addition, you need inoculant with the effective microorganisms. This can also be bought online. However, it is also possible to make this inoculant yourself. You will find simple recipes for this if you search on the net.
Most people still choose the simple solution and buy a ready-made Bokashi set with bucket and inoculant. Then you can get started quickly, and you can be sure that everything works as it should.
The Japanese composting method requires some equipment, but both the compost tea and the resulting compost are very nutritious for our plants. In addition, the effective microorganisms have a positive impact on the quality of the soil.
So, when the bokashi compost hits the ground, the organisms in the ground start feeding on the fermented mass. A favorable environment is formed for the good bacteria, and microorganisms help to build up the soil quality and nutrient content in the soil.