What is Bokashi Bran and What Does it Do?
Bokashi bran is the compost accelerator that powers the Bokashi compost system. Bokashi bran contains billions of microbes that break down food waste quickly. (4 min. read)
Bokashi is a 200-year-old Asian recipe for composting, which uses beneficial microbes, such as lactobacillus, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria (PNSB), combined with a non-GMO wheat bran base.
For a Bokashi composting system to work properly, it needs three key ingredients:
- A compost bucket, preferably one that has been designed for Bokashi composting
- Organic waste, such as food scraps
- A host medium such as Bokashi bran
Bokashi bran causes fermentation which helps turn your food scraps into a fertilizer packed with nutrients, microbes, and probiotics that will bring life into your soil.
Although the Bokashi host medium can be one of many organic grain or grass-like substances, including rice, wheat, dried leaves, or sawdust, one of the most popular mediums is known as Bokashi bran.
The host medium is infused with beneficial microbes that flourish in an anaerobic (meaning oxygen free), acidic environment. One of the benefits of Bokashi bran is that it doesn’t have the strong, foul sell that traditional composting tends to create.
Some type of sugar compound, such as Molasses, provides the energy source that the microbes will use to reproduce quickly and repeatedly during the early stages of the fermentation process.
Once the Bokashi bran is ready, it can be dried, packaged, and stored for up to 2-years (if stored properly). Although it may sound simple, it is a meticulous process that requires care and control to make sure that the Bokashi bran is ready to help you turn your organic waste into plant super-food.
For example, Bokashi Plus is made with non-GMO Canadian wheat bran and then infused with effective micro-organisms in a molasses and structured water base.
The result is that our Bokashi bran is packed full of the bokashi essential microbes (aka EM). These microbes are the engine that drives the bokashi composting system.
How Much Bokashi Bran Do I Need?
One of the best parts about bokashi composting is that you can never have to worry about adding too much Bokashi bran. More is good! The only thing you need to worry about is not adding enough.
Typically, we recommend adding half a cup of Bokashi Plus™ into the bottom of the composter before you start adding food scrapes. Sprinkle and additional 2-3 tablespoons of Bokashi bran evenly over every 2″ (approximately) of food scraps, although you should add more when you are adding meat products or small bones. Once again, it is always better to add more than not enough.
Don’t just dump the Bokashi bran into the composter. It’s best if you sprinkle the bran evenly across the surface of your food scraps. Although it’s important to get a proper mix of food waste and the Bokashi bran for the process to work, you usually don’t have to mix the food manually for this to happen. However, if you realize that you’ve got more than about 2” of food scraps that need to be covered, it would be beneficial to give the compost bin a quick stir to make sure that the process is working optimally.
If you’re brand new to bokashi composting, we recommend erring on the side of being more generous when adding bokashi bran to your composter. You can always reduce the amount with each batch until you find the sweet spot that works for bokashi composting within your kitchen.
And don’t worry about running out.
On average, one bag of Bokashi Plus is enough to feed the composting process for up to 5 compost bins worth. For your typical household, that is about 3 months worth of food scraps. Even if you use twice the amount you normally need, one bag is still about a 1 ½ month supply!
If you aren’t adding enough Bokashi bran, the signs are obvious and will start to appear pretty quickly.
Here are the top signs that you’re not adding enough Bokashi bran to your compost mix:
- Your compost mix has a foul or putrid smell;
- You notice blue or green mold growing (white mold is perfectly fine);
- Pests are digging up the fermented food waste after it has been added to your garden; or
- You can still see visible pieces of food waste in your soil more than 2-4 weeks after you’ve added your fermented food waste (except bones and large pieces that you did not chop before adding to your bokashi bucket).
If you experience any of the above, try adding more Bokashi bran to your composting mix. That should help get your bokashi composting get back on track.
How to Store Bokashi Bran
Bokashi bran should be stored at around room temperature, out of direct sunlight and in an airtight container. If stored properly, top-quality bokashi bran should remain viable for up to 2 years.
One way that you can tell if your Bokashi bran is still viable is because it has a yeasty, beer-like smell. If you get a whiff of an ammonia smell, that usually suggests that your Bokashi bran has gone bad and should be replaced.
Although we are likely biased, we passionately believe that our Bokashi Plus is the best Bokashi Bran currently on the market. Our Bokashi Plus™ culture mix is packed full of beneficial ingredients. Although it was primarily developed for use with our My Good Green™ Compost System and our My Good Green™ Pet Compost Kit, it can also be used for a variety of other purposes.
The Plus in Bokashi Plus™ comes from increased levels of Purple non-sulphur bacteria, aids in lignin breakdown and utilization of organic waste. We have also added agro-minerals and trace minerals mined from Northern Ontario. Bokashi Plus™ uses only premium quality, natural and organic ingredients.
What Other Ways Can I Use Bokashi Bran?
Aside from powering your Bokashi compost system, the Bokashi Plus bran product can be used around the home in a variety of ways.
Bokashi Plus™ can be used in combination with potting soil to give a richer base for container plants. To do this, simply mix one-part Bokashi Plus™ to 20 parts of potting soil. You can also mix Bokashi Plus™ directly into your gardens when planting vegetables and plants.
Bokashi tea works great as a foliar spray or in watering cans to give plants additional nutrients. Simply add 2 ounces Bokashi Plus™ to one gallon of filtered water and let stand, sealed, for 24-48 hours. Use it on vegetable gardens, flowers, and all other plants.
Pipe and Septic Sanitizing
Due to the active ingredients and microorganisms, Bokashi Plus™ can act as a healthy and safe alternative to septic and plumbing chemicals, such as RID-X. Add ⅛ cup of Bokashi Plus™ to one gallon of filtered water and seal in a container for 12 hours. It can be poured or flushed down sinks and toilets to clear clogs.
Pet Odour Control
Bokashi Plus™ can also be used to help control and reduce odours caused by your pets. Sprinkle a small amount of Bokashi Plus™ onto bedding, outdoor pet runs, or add into kitty litter. Want to turn your pet waste into nutrients for the soil? Get the full scoop on composting dog poop.
Order Bokashi Plus and Start Composting Today
Bokashi Plus™ is an all-natural compost accelerator, used to speed up the transformation of food waste and other organics into nutrient rich compost within weeks. My Good Green™ Bokashi Plus is perfect for use in the My Good Green™ Compost System.