J. received a bokashi bucket as part of a corporate prize draw, so I did not have the opportunity to explain the system in advance or provide a small intro demonstration. My instruction sheet and information brochure are being changed to include some of the concerns raised.
Edited for clarity:
I need more bokashi. I am only 1 person using this system & started the composted at the end of March — so in less than 2 months I’ve used up the bag. I think used too much –but the reason why was because every time I opened the bucket to add more food scraps, I would find mold on the top of the food/enzyme pile AND all over the interior sides of the bucket. So, I would try to scrape the sides & add more bokashi in order to cover the mold & aid digestion.
I’m concerned that this system really does not break down the organic materials into compost. It really is in a very early state of decomposition and not appropriate for putting in my window planters (I’m an apt dweller). It appears that it only gets to a state of partially digested/rotted food. Is this correct?
Thanks for your comments. I’ll answer them as best as I can. Using a 1Kg bag of bokashi in a two month period is within a normal range but for a single person, you are correct: it should last longer. Bokashi is very forgiving. As long as it has something to eat/grow on, it will continue to do its work.
With regard to the mold, on Page 2 of the instruction sheet is says:
The Signs Of A Successful Fermentation
Smell: Well fermented food organics should have a smell similar to that of pickles or
Visual: Occasionally, particularly for longer fermentation periods a white cotton-like
fungi growth may appear on the surface. This shows that a good fermentation
process has occurred.
The Signs That All Is Not Well*
Smell: A strong rancid or rotten smell indicates a poor batch of compost.
Visual: The presence black or blue-green fungi indicates that contamination has occurred
and the process has not fermented but putrefied.
Was your mold white or black? Did your food waste smell fermented or putrid?
With regard to what is happening in the bucket, again, you are correct: the system does not break down the organic materials into "black gold" compost.
It states this on Page 2 of the instruction sheet:
The Composting Process
The composting process is one of fermentation, which is like pickling
onions in a jar. The organic food will not breakdown or decompose
while it is in the bucket. So if you have a bucket that is fermenting
with a pickling/vinegar type smell and looks the same when you put the
food in the bucket, this is okay composting is still happening.
On Page 4 it states that the finishing process is as follows:
How To Use Your Biosa Bokashi Compost or What to do when the bucket is full
In existing gardens
Dig a hole/trench approximately 20-25 cms deep, add the fermented food organics and mix with some soil, then cover with the remaining soil. The FM fermented compost is acidic when first dug in but neutralises after 7-10 days. Bacteria in the soil and compost will start to break down the food and after about 2-4 weeks all the food will have decomposed. Alternatively you can add it to an existing compost bin.
For people who live in apartments, there are different solutions possible and I offer the suggestion provided in this weblink:
According to one of my clients, this has worked very well for him.
I hope this is helpful for you J. The concerns you raised will be made more clear in my information brochures and instructions.
Please contact me to get another bag of bokashi.
*I did not include this section in my original reply.