Bokashi Bin Working Together With Our Worm Farm

I have been working on this video for awhile now.  Any free moment I would do a little bit more to finish it (I have been really busy at work).

This is a very basic and simple illustraion on how we use our Bokashi bin, together with our worm farm to recycle our kicthen organic waste.

The only improvement I could suggest to our system is that we should have two Bokashi bins.  When one is full, we let it sit until the next one is full.  This will give the first bin a longer time to brake down the waste (ie giving the EM powder more time to work).  Then we would simply rotate the bins around.

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26 thoughts on “Bokashi Bin Working Together With Our Worm Farm

  1. Pingback: Worm Farms, Bokashi Bins and Compost Bins all Working Together | Greener Me

  2. Hi Kerri,

    It certainly shows that you are inspired and having fun with it! I feel very honoured that you have taken the time to share with us all, about what you are doing.

    Thanks for the link – I will check it out shortly.

    Sarhn 🙂

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  3. Thankyou Sarhn and all who have commented here. Great to hear practical ways to best use Bokashi (it’s a bit low on the ground in many forums and technical sites – practicality, that is). Here you all seem to be getting more edumicated, not less, as general gist turns to ‘Oh, I can do that with that? Wow!’

    I have recently started Bokashi and am getting quite in to refining that process. I just line a 10L bucket with a compostable bag now and add lots of paper, bread, etc. (thanks to Jenny’s Bokashi Blog) I’m even thinking of canning the bran and just spraying with EM (more research to found out dilutions). Means I could even get away with one bucket (in fact I have 3, umm 4 if you count the one the lid doesn’t close tightly on – learning curve and impatience)

    While I’m doing all this, I have 3000 worms settling in ready for the first Bokashi. Ever the ponderer, I wonder why we put worm food on the top if they don’t eat it ’til the micro-organisms do their job (obviously with and without air, but we don’t want any rot in the wormfarm)- seems like Vermiculture needed Bokashi all along.

    I put small bones in my Bokashi, the idea being (I believe), to suck the goodness out of them and throw away any that turn up in the garden. Once I’m feeding worms I’ll be fishing these out, I guess, so I’ll probably end up not putting them in. Depends on which is easier. I really like the ‘throw it all in’ Bokashi so you can collect Bokashi anywhere and from anyone without worrying that something has gone in that will wreck the lot.

    All the best
    Kerri

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    • Wow Kerri,

      Looks like you have been busy researching Bokashi. Thrilled to read you have recently started Bokashi and that it is going well for you.

      Thank you for your comments and kind words – I really appreciate it Kerri.

      Interested to know when you ‘just lined a 10L bucket’ are you referring to an ‘official’ Bokashi bucket or one you have made yourself? If you made it yourself, did you put a draining pipe of some kind and if so what did you do?

      Thanks again Kerri
      🙂

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      • I have a commercial Bokashi bucket which I use as ‘normal’. However, I picked up some clues from Jenny Harlen on her blog and found this is easy as and makes the whole process cheaper, lazier, less messy. This method doesn’t include collecting bokashi juice and the bags need a lot more paper, bread, etc in them to soak up the juice. I suggest everyone have a look at Jenny’s trialled method and go from there. http://bokashiworld.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/bio-bags-dead-easy-and-a-great-way-to-do-bokashi/
        Any bucket with a tight-fitting lid will do for this method, and one bucket can be enough as the bucket is able to be used while the bag is put elsewhere for ferment stage.

        I just took this method away on hols with me last weekend and it worked fantastically. 2 buckets full and fermenting happily in their bags. I haven’t seen the end results and I think it will take some judgement to get the amount of absorbent material needed in the bags right. I got paper plates, serviettes, bread, etc on the weekend so think it will be good. At home I would probably have to add lots of newspaper as most ‘scraps’ would be vegies and leftovers.

        I will still use my proper bucket so I can try the juice out on my vegies (very diluted of course). I’m happy to forgo it though seeing as I’ll be getting worm pee.

        I’m just having an absolute ball trying out all sorts of ideas and the process is just getting simpler all the time. Anyone should be able to do this without having to be very ‘green’ at all. Lots of people are just filling bags and giving them to the gardener down the street. Jenny even get coffee grounds from cafes, scraps from preschool, etc.

        I’m pretty inspired!
        Kerri

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  4. Cameron you have out did yourself this time with the information given. I really appreciate your comments and contribution to this blog and especially the topic of Bokashi & worm farms.

    Just wanted to quickly respond to your comment and will spend more time later (not when at work) to look through those Youtube videos.

    Thank you again Cameron – you are a star!

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  5. Whoa, aren’t you getting a few hits on this blog! 🙂

    I haven’t personally made my own Bokashi, but I do know of people who have. For me, I’m only using a 5 kg bag over a 3 – 4 month period, so it’s not really a huge cost for me. But for someone wanting to do it on a bigger scale (ie. a school), then of course it would make sense to make your own Bokashi.

    There is a pretty informative Youtube video that I’ve seen on making Bokashi, you can see it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96fSXccQx9Q.

    I’ve actually read of two different types of make your own bokashi, one is using bran based, and the other is newspaper based. The bran based one is explained in the Youtube video, the one with the newspaper can be found at http://bokashicomposting.com/?p=55.

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  6. Hi Lindsay,

    It is so nice to hear from you (all the way from the other side of the world).

    Your project to design a compositing system sounds like quite the project – I get very excited when I hear schools working on environmental projects (hey the children are our future).

    I don’t make my own Bokashi EM mix and to be honest, I have never thought about it – interesting thought.

    Cameron do you have any ideas?

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  7. Hi Sarhn,

    Thanks for your blog! I am in the US and designing a composting system for an elementary school and we are experimenting with Bokashi and worms. I was not sure how it would all work together and if we could feed the bokashi waste to the worms. Cameron’s comments are also very helpful! Sounds like he has quite the setup!

    Do you (and Cameron) make your own Bokashi EM mix? I have heard that it is somewhat simple to do.

    Thanks,
    Lindsay

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  8. Way to go Holly! You got the idea. Focus on one action you can improve upon and once completed take the time to ‘feel good’ about it. The reason?………..because positive feel good emotions always will be a stronger motivator than negative guilt type feelings. All it takes is your first step and you are on your way.

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  9. Hi Sarhn and Cameron

    Thanks for your tips, I’ll definitely implement them. I am looking forward to getting the system working, throwing food/scraps into the landfill bin was definitely touching a guilt-nerve! Now if we can do something about unrecyclable packaging…

    🙂

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  10. Hi Holly,

    To be honest I personally have been able to feed just about everything to the worms without any trouble IF it comes out of the Bokashi bin first (except I don’t put bones in the Bokashi bin or worm farm). Citrus fruit for example placed straight into the worm farm will not be eaten by the worms (they hate citrus) and hence it will go off. However the worms have eaten citrus fruit that came out of my Bokashi bin system.

    I think Cameron’s lime suggestion is excellent (see comment above).

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  11. Hi Holly,

    You can try feeding the worms a small sample of the stirfry that has “pickled” in the bokashi for a few weeks, just to see if they can handle it.

    One thing I’ve noticed that helps the worms get through the bokashi is to mix it with a very small handful of garden lime (to raise the pH, as bokashi is quite low) and also to mix with a very large handful of sawdust. For me, the bokashi is usually quite slushy, so mixing it with sawdust helps suck up some of extra moisture.

    Regards,
    Cameron

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  12. Hi Sarhn

    Thanks for the video – very informative and inspiring!

    Based on your advice I’ve just bought a 2x bokashi system to supplement my wormfarm. I was wondering if you could advise me on whether the bokashi/worm combination would work with some, say, over-the-use-by date-chili/spicy/salty stirfry? I would never think of putting it into the worm farm but maybe after it had been bokashi’d?

    From the manufacturer’s advice it would be ok if it was just going in the ground but i worry about the worms, they can be quite sensitive!

    Cheers
    Holly

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  13. Hey Vernon, thanks for your comment.

    I am interested in your point about ‘Earthworms cannot eat the food we place in the worm farm’.

    Before I had the Bokashi Bin, worms were eating about 70% of the food we put into the worm farm. What they didn’t eat is protein, dairy, onions and citrus fruit. Now with EM Bokashi bin however the worms eat everything that comes out of the Bokashi bin even the food they didn’t eat before (we don’t put bones in the worm farm or Bokashi bin).

    In regards to our dog poo Bokashi system – we don’t actually use the proper Bokashi bin but just a regular large container with a lid. We use the EM Bokashi powder to sprinkle over the dog poo. See this post for all the info. https://greenerme.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/em-bokashi-update-dog-poo/

    Thanks again Vernon
    🙂

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  14. Its not a question of the worms liking the half broken down food. Earthworms cannot eat the food we place in the worm farm. Microbes (the EM Effective Microbes) and tiny mites in thesystem breaks the food down into smaller particulars, and that the worms can munch on.

    Please send me a mail, possibly with a photo, of the dog poo bokashi system you have, we have tried something similar here in South Africa, but with limited sucess. Have yours got a drainage system?

    When dog poo lies around, sprinkle som Bokashi over it, and you’ll notice that both smell and flies disappear in a few minutes. Afterwards bury it straight in the garden. Besides suppressing the release of methane, it also suppresses breakdown initially, thus capturing all the energy in it.

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  15. Hi Melissa,

    Thank you for your comment. I have been adding our Bokashi with the EM powder straight into the worms now for almost a year. No problems at all. In fact I think the worms prefer the half decomposed waste that comes out of the Bokashi bin (we take it out of bin obviously before it has totall decomposed to feed the worms).

    The worms not only eat quicker but they eat things they don’t usally eat, like diary, citrus and protein. I think this is because the EM has already broken it down for the worms. Whatever the reason I can tell you there is nothing left in our worm farm!

    Hope this helps
    Sarhn

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  16. I have a very small yard & have just got 2 Bokashi bins. I intended to get rid of my worm farm, as the worms just don’t keep up with our organic waste, but you’ve encouraged me to try feeding the Bokashi-d compost to them. Just double-checking; you haven’t found any problems at all with doing this? I don’t want to kill my worms

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  17. Hey Cameron, I think it is rather cool to have a borderline compulsive disorder in the way of growing plants – hey things could be a lot worse!

    Since I have come back from holidays, there have been strange plant growth in my pot plants. I have decided to let them grow to see what they turn out like. I think they are tomatoes. One of the benefits of using bokashi and worm farms is waste fruit and veg can seed in your garden easily.

    It is kind of fun to see what will grow.

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  18. I would call it more a hobby, borderline compulsive disorder.

    I work in IT during the day, and needed a new hobby after I gave up tenpin bowling. I love the hot stuff, and there’s no way you can buy these fresh anywhere in Australia.

    I love reactions from bypassers when they pass my house, some even stop to ask about them which is cool.

    Oh, and I do make my own sauces, but sell on a casual basis to friends and colleagues

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  19. Hi Cameron, sorry for my delay in responding – I have been on holidays overseas for the last couple of weeks. Back in Australia now and back to work tomorrow.

    You have captured my interest with your 100 Chilli plants. Are you starting a new business as a mexican restuarant owner? Why 100 Chilli plants?

    Thanks again for reading Cameron
    Sarhn

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  20. Hi Sarhn,

    Nice video, I like the effects!

    I have the exact same system! 2 x Bokashi bins on a rotation system, and 2 x Can-o-Worms in the garage.

    I’ve taken this whole thing even further, I have a compost tumbler that I empty the worm castings in, and add cut lawn grass and shredded newspaper to that. From there, I have a 100L bucket that I make compost tea out of, by adding the compost from the compost tumbler and adding molasses, seaweed and fish emulsion and brewing it with an aquarium air pump. This helps feed the 100 chilli plants I have in my front yard 😉

    Regards,
    Cameron

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  21. Nevyn,

    Mini & Cooper say thank you. They are actually video and photo hogs. They are always getting into all my videos and photographs that end up in this blog. I think it is kind of cute that they love helping me with what I am doing (or at least they think they are helping me).

    Yes you can put meat in a bokashi bin (just not bones). It is way I love bokashi and way they work so nicely with worms. Worms are fussy little creatures. They don’t eat diary, protein, onions or citrus. However they eat everything that comes out of the bokashi bin. The reason I think is the EM bokashi powder has already started to brake down the waste. I think the worms find it easy to eat and hence eat things they usually don’t.

    Sarhn

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  22. Hi Sarhn,

    You forgot to add ‘also starring, Mini and Cooper’.

    I think those bins are great, I’ve been dropping not so subtle hints to my parents. They, however, have been not so subtley ignoring me. I guess it’s all irrelavent now because their Retirement Villiage is putting in garden allotments (they have their name down for one) and part of it includes composting. No more food down the munchy thing and all to the compost pile instead. Except for the meat……

    Does the Bokashi Bin work with meat? You’ve probably mentioned it before but it’s midnight and I’m too lazy to go looking and there is a Feral trying to burrow under the blankets, making it very hard to concentrate.

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