How To Make Bokashi

Let’s hop right in to making our own bokashi with a video:

YouTube video

Link mentioned at end of video: How To Use Bokashi

Bokashi Ingredients

First, you need a substrate, like animal bedding, sawdust, rice or wheat bran.

Then, per 1-gallon of substrate:

  • 1/2 Tbsp EM or AEM (I use SCD Probiotics SCD Probiotics)
  • 1/2 Tbsp unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses or 1/4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 cups water (some people use as many as 3 cups water, but 1.5 is better)

Directions For Making Bokashi

A. Mix the wet ingredients:

  1. Heat up the water to the temperature of a hot bath – 100-120F (38-48C).
  2. Dissolve the molasses or sugar in the water.
  3. Mix in any other optional ingredients, like Sea Minerals.
  4. Add the mother culture.

B. Mixing the wet and dry ingredients:

Fill your bokashi container with the carbon-rich substrate, just about 50% full to leave room for stirring. I’m using a 5-gallon pail, but you can do it in bigger or small containers, even in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp.

In stages, pour a little of the liquid into the container and mix well with the substrate. I use my hand to stir. 

Once you’ve stirred 1/2 of the liquid in, you’re have 20X as much substrate as liquid, which in rare cases, could be enough.

When you can make a ball out of the substrate that holds together but crumbles fairly easily and doesn’t drip water, that’s the right amount of liquid.

If you end up using the whole bottle of liquid, that’s a 1:10 ratio of liquid to substrate, which is usually about right.

In some cases, you may need more, so you can mix up a new bottle and keep going. If you use another whole bottle of liquid, that would be a 1:5 ratio of liquid to substrate.

Fermenting The Bokashi

One way I like to do the bokashi fermentation is in air-tight, plastic bags.

For example, you could double or triple bag it in some garbage bags or separate it into multiple big ziplock bags.

The nice thing about bags is it’s easy to get the air out of them.

Let it ferment without air.

The original literature says it’s ready in 3-4 days as long as it’s kept at room temperature or warmer, but some people let it go for months.

I think 2 weeks is a happy medium, but 1 week may be enough. As when activating EM, it happens faster and better if you can keep it warm somehow.

When bokashi is done, it should have a sweet and sour smell, kind of like pickles.

If it smells bad or if there are fuzzy green or gray molds, something went wrong(white fungi is fine) – perhaps the moisture level was too high. In this case, throw it in the garden, clean the bucket thoroughly, and start again.

Once your bokashi is finished, you can store it at room temperature.

If stored anaerobically under the same conditions as it was made, it would keep many months, and can actually improve with time as the microbes colonize the medium more thoroughly.

But as you start to use it, you’ll be introducing air, so it should either be used within a couple of weeks or dried, which is what I do because I use it over many months to ferment my food scraps.

Dry I by laying it out on the ground – not in direct sunlight – for 1-3 days (depending on temperature and humidity).

I generally use a tarp but I’ve also put it on a wooden or concrete floor.

Dump it
Spread it out
1-3 days later, put it back into storage

Then put it back into a dry container, where it will keep for at least a couple of months, if not a couple of years.

I like to use buckets for this or big ziplock bags.