Category: 1Maven

Copley Community Orchard – Bokashi Field Trial

By , 21 May 2012 21:22

The Environmental Youth Alliance has partnered with the City of Vancouver to work with community members to create Copley Community Orchard on the former grounds of Richard and Marie Copley’s orchard. This land was vacant for decades, and now, in keeping with the site’s history, the focus of the project is perennial fruit agriculture and celebration.

The site is shared between the EYA’s youth programming and Copley Community Orchard. Community Studio has assisted us in designing our exciting plans which include an apple orchard, cherry trees, espaliered apple and pear trees, rare or unique fruit trees, berry bushes and fruiting shrubs. We also have planned an accessible bed area which will be open to all members of the community.

I received permission to add some bokashi to the cherry trees as a fertilizer. Here’s what I did.

Bokashi will be added to the cherry trees on the right [north] side of the path.


Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1


The trees were planted during the first work party on April 28 -29, 2012.

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1-1


Holes are made on the uphill side of the roots, about 4 – 5in / 10-12cm deep

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1-2


Bokashi is added to the holes and covered

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1-3


Tree No. 1 with opposite for control and reference

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1-5


Tree No. 2

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 2-1


Tree No. 3

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 3-1


Tree No. 4

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 4-1


Tree No. 5

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 5-1


I will take pictures again on the Canada Day Weekend July 1, 2012

Is bokashi cost effective? Yes!

By , 20 February 2010 21:39

In this article from the Kamloops Daily News, Deanna Hurstfield is looking to start a bokashi composting network where she lives. It has a good overview of the process.

I need to respond to these lines in the article:

Bokashi seems to offer many advantages, Hurstfield said. The catch? It’s not cheap.

There are bokashi kits available through Internet dealers, she said. The costs of those systems appear to run at about $20 to $30 a month for all the supplies, substrates and microbe mixes.

Here are the costs for the first year of bokashi composting using my system:

Two bokashi buckets: $85
4 x 1Kg Bokashi*: $30
Total    $115
Monthly cost:  $9.58

*[two 1Kg bags are included with the bokashi kits]

In the second year or, if you have your own buckets as Deanna does, all you need is the bokashi: $60

Monthly cost: $5

I’ve been generous on the amount of bokashi you need for a year. Although I say that a 1Kg bag of bokashi will last 2 – 4 months, I’ve had customers come back for a second bag after 6 or 9 months, even a year later. Recently, a small office re-ordered a bag of bokashi nearly two an a half years after their first purchase!

While my competitor’s prices probably do come close the article’s monthly estimate for the first year, the cost in the second year is much lower.

"If we can find a microbiologist who can help us figure out what is in there, we can cut the costs even more," she said.

It isn’t hard to find what is in the bacterial culture used to make bokashi. This blog post from 2007 addresses the issue of making and using your own friendly microbe culture, as does Bokashi Composting.

I have never hidden how to make your own bokashi which will lower your costs even more. I only ask that you buy the Terra Biosa Friendly Microbes [aka EM] from me.:-)

Do it today!


Bokashi in Spain – YouTube

By , 14 October 2008 23:48

I appreciate how the developers here have simplified the complexity and made it as easy as possible for many people to use bokashi. It is a great adaptation which I will see if I can implement.



Anke's bokashi bucket [Germany]

By , 17 July 2008 06:56

I found a picture of Anke’s bucket on Flickr and provided some advice to her. This is a DIY bucket that a company makes but also provides details on how to make your own.

After I sent her the instructions I usually give to clients, Anke decided start the process over and document it. Links to my website & blog are in the pic of the bucket with foil tape on it.

bokashi – a set on Flickr

Update: Anke added a post on her blog


Bokashi & Bones

By , 2 June 2008 08:17

Within twelve hours of responding to a blog post about the same topic, I received this email:

I’m trying to find out if chicken bones are okay in my bokashi bucket (hope so cause I already put them in). You said chicken is fine, so how about the bones?…If bones are not okay, should I go to the trouble to dig them out? How
should I best compost bones?

My response [from the blog comments]:

If everything is smelling of fermenting, then you are doing the right things.

But fermentation is not composting. The food wastes added to your bokashi bucket may not look much different than when they went in. but their chemical structure has change completely.

It is when your bokashi food waste goes into your compost heap that the real composting begins. Bones do take longer to break down but in my experience, they become soft and pliable after several weeks/months in the compost.

Will they disappear? Eventually. If you want to make that happen faster, the best thing I can suggest is to break the bones into smaller pieces when you put them in your bokashi bucket.

Hope that helps.




Bokashi Question – Why am I using so much bokashi?

By , 29 May 2008 06:32

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?



My reply:

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
cider vinegar.

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.


From Green LA Girl: Successful apartment composting stories wanted

By , 6 April 2008 10:27

Los Angeles apartment dwellers could probably make use of a community composting initiative.

Successful apartment composting stories wanted

If you have a lawn or garden, you can easily transform food scraps into healthy, eco-friendly, compost. All you need to compost is basically a bin with holes at the bottom. But apartment-dwellers who don’t want to send fruit peels and veggie pieces to the landfill have a harder go of it. You need more involved equipment — and have to get more involved yourself.

This is why I haven’t started composting yet.

In fact, none of my local green, apartment-dwelling friends compost. And it’s not cuz we’re lazy!

It’s just tough to compost indoors. Jenn of Tiny Choices wrote a great post about the 4 ways to compost indoors. Guess what: Jenn doesn’t compost herself.

Are you a successful apartment composter? Share your story [] to encourage us all, and I’ll include them in a future post. In the meantime, I’m going to figure out how I can push Santa Monica, the city I live in, to give us green bins we can put our food scraps in for city composting. Homeowners get these green bins, but not apartment dwellers.

Composting indoors is a challenge but if you have no outside compost bin, then a combination of using bokashi and a worm bin* may do the job.



Sunday March 9th, 2008 – Bokashi composting demo [show and tell] @ MOBY

By , 4 March 2008 21:34

From an email by Tina D

MOBY has invited Al … to do a Bokashi Composting workshop. I have been using the system for a year now and love it ( no fruit-flies in the summer). Please RSVP if you would like to attend.

See below for more information.

Bokashi Composting Workshop

Check the craigslist link for info

Date: Sunday March 9th

Time: 11am
Location: MOBY Garden
Cost: $5 – can be used toward the kit which costs $45

Limited space – 12 people only. Please RSVP to

For more information please see these websites:

This is not an official guerrilla gardener meet-up so please to

To be clear, we will not be making bokashi. I am showing the process, how it works and the results bokashi compost dug into Tina D’s MOBY garden plot in January. In all, we’re looking at about 30 – 45 minutes.

The Permaculture Concept video

By , 12 September 2007 10:06

In addition to the big picture view, Bill Mollison shows how to setup a growing space on an apartment balcony!!

Link to Bokashi videos on YouTube

By , 30 August 2007 06:49

Bokashi videos on YouTube

None of them by me, yet.

Also a list of suppliers of the friendly microbe liquid aka. EM to make your own bokashi.

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