Fermenting Kitchen Waste

Fermenting Kitchen Waste

I must tell you about Bokashi composting… This is a fermentation technique that was invented in either Japan or Korea, that allows you compost cheese, dairy, meets, onions, citrus, really anything organic. Note you will run into problems composting the above things using an aerobic method, because they tend to smell, inhibit bacteria, or rot (and attract various beasts). But with Bokashi, not only does it smell nice, but it also can preserve your organic wastes for months. After that, it has three possible destinations: 1) The compost pile 2) buried in the soil for a few weeks 3) To be eaten by worms . Now, I’m starting to do #3, at Mt. Hope community garden, thanks to some help in the form of worms from Matt Warren.

Fermentation is done by (mainly) lacto bacillus bacteria who convert sugars into lactic acid and alcohol. With Bokashi, you have to drain your buckets of the fluids in order to keep the fermentation process active. Now, the cool thing is that this vinegary stuff is fertilizer with a very low PH (enough to clean out your pipes and certainly kill your plants). So, I mix 3 TBSP with about 2 gals of water. My strawberries seem to like it, as I would expect they would. I am thinking of how to use fertilizer injectors to integrate it into my gravity drip irrigation pipeline without clogging the tubes.

Bokashi typically comes in bags of inoculated wheat bran, which I originally obtained by taking a class with Ron McCord at the Solana Center, where I first learned about Bokashi. But when it runs out, you have to make your own. So, I bought $10 of wheat bran, a $27 bottle of EM1 off Amazon, some black strap molasses, and started making it. I learned that I need a basin to mix this stuff by hand. Also, I don’t know if I pushed out enough air, but Bokashi has been pretty forgiving of O2 in general.

I have not had much success fermenting meats. They usually end up stinking. I think with enough Bokashi, I can get around this.

Anyway, I’ve been doing Bokashi about a year, and I think it’s a powerful pre-composting process. It’s got me wanting to explore the possibilities of fermentation..