Disaster Strikes – Bokashi Bombs!

Bokashi composting

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8 Responses

  1. Jenny Harlen says:

    Hi Barbara! Haven’t had the chance to go through all your posts so hopefully you’ve got your problems sorted and your bokashi bins are bubbling along nicely now. In my experience, the reason for most problems is that it’s too wet in the bin. The solution is easy at least, just put in a newspaper to soak up the condensation. If you have a look at the inside of the lid and it’s a bit wet then your bin is a bit wet. Not all liquid drains down, some of it just loves to evaporate up and get smelly and cause mould.
    You don’t have to leave the newspaper in there, if it gets wet and soggy you can replace it. And you can always lift it a bit to add new batches of food waste under the newspaper.
    Adding endless amounts of Bokashi bran won’t help and will cost you a fortune.
    Putting the bin out in the cold won’t help either (unless you’ve given up on it), as the microbes will be too cold to do their work.
    So, not too wet and not too cold. As if that should be strange advice for a kiwi who’s decided to live in England from one who’s decided to live in Sweden!!!
    /Jenny

  2. Brenda says:

    I cannot see how you could add too much bokashi bran. That could not hurt the fermenting process however it is an expensive waste.
    The little bit of green mold has been my problem too and I’m currently working on solutions.
    Three months ago I began my first bokashi. I made my own bokashi bran from EM-1 and made my own buckets.
    Also I collect veggy scraps from a neighbor.
    Some of my buckets began failing. I’ve rescued them by throwing out the top layer where green mold began and putting sugar and more bokashi bran on the top. This worked on one but not on another.
    Also I’ve begun to put plastic bags on top to keep away any oxygen. Another possibility is that mold may have already begun on some of the good scraps. I now refrigerate all scraps until they go into bin. I microwave my neighbors scraps to kill any bacteria and molds that could be on food.

    • barbaram says:

      Hi Brenda,
      Thanks for dropping by. As far as adding too much bran is concerned, it was the economics that were bothering me too. I have had no trouble with subsequent batches, thank goodness. I think you are right about not adding mouldy food and in retrospect, that may be what happened to me. I also always cover with a plastic bag. I put the food in, add bran if necessary, press the bag down hard, squashing everything, firstly just with my hands and then with a plastic ‘paddle’. A potato masher would do the trick, too, I imagine. I make sure I get into the corners, too.
      I have not made any bran mix myself, although I would like to. This is a stab in the dark, but do you think you may have been sold some dud EM? So hard to know.I tossed the contents of my failed bin into my outside compost bin. Bokashi is a great accelerant for ordinary compost and it is probably where my next lot will go too, as I have a very tiny garden.
      Do keep in touch and let us know how you get on. By the way. Do you get any liquid?

  3. Sarah says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much! I have a very cavalier attitude towards my own bokashi bins but it seems to work out ok. I use even less bran than you show in your photos – and when my flatmates put food in they don’t use any bran… I have to remember to check the bin every day to make sure there’s enough bran!

    I don’t get much (if any) liquid until after the bin is full (2-3 weeks) and then I swap the bins and put the full one outside. After that I need to remember to check it regularly for liquid but I don’t always remember. I break all the rules it seems but I still end up with something I can put in my compost bin later! I would like to be more vigilant with draining off the liquid though. Last year I used it as plant food for my window boxes which gave my very spent compost a new lease on life I think. And when I don’t drain the liquid it does tend to get smelly.

    Here at work we are preparing for Compost Awareness Week (6-10 May). I was thinking we should do something bloggy for it! I am planning on starting up my blog again.

    • barbaram says:

      Thanks for your encouragement, Sarah. I must admit that my first attempt is still sitting out on the deck! I had a peep a couple of days ago and it seemed quite OK. No smells at all now, so I had decided just to let it lie for a while and see what happens. As to the amount of bran, I was a bit worried that I had too much, and I guess I was over-compensating. Will use a little less from now on. At my present rate of use I will bankrupt myself in no time!
      Good luck with Compost Awareness Week. Would love to publish something special for it. Any ideas?

      • Sarah says:

        I’m not sure as you write about compost all the time anyway! I want to write a post about my composting set-up.

  4. Ricardo says:

    I believe your problem is oxygen. Somehow, air got into your bin and allowed other microorganisms to join the party. Too much moisture may have contributed as well.
    Keep trying!

    • barbaram says:

      Thank you for your suggestion, Ricardo. I did not think of that being an issue as the only time I opened the bin was to add fresh material and the lid is air-tight. Worth thinking about though.
      I will definitely keep trying!

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