Bokashi Bran


How to convert your food waste into compost.

During this period, you will notice the growth of white moss or fungi on top of the food waste and potentially on the sides of the bucket. This indicates that the microorganisms are breaking down the waste, creating beneficial microbes that enrich the soil. You’ll know that fermentation is complete when you hear a sloshing sound at the bottom of the bucket when shaken.


At this point, tap the liquid into another bucket and dilute it with water at a ratio of 1:300 before adding it to your garden. The resulting bokashi tea is highly concentrated and will provide a potent boost to your soil’s nutrients. However, if you plan to use it as a foliage spray, dilute it even further using a mix-nozzle. Remember, too much bokashi tea can damage your plants, so use it sparingly and enjoy the benefits of this sustainable composting method.



When your bokashi bucket or digester is full of food waste and layered bokashi, it’s time to turn it into nutrient-rich compost for your garden. To complete the fermentation process, leave the bucket for two weeks in a shaded area away from direct sunlight. Make sure the bucket is sealed tightly with the tap closed to prevent oxygen from getting in, which can cause the waste to turn sour instead of fermenting.

You are now ready to process your food waste into rich organic compost.

You can use several methods to process your food waste, depending on how much space you have, how established your garden is, and how much you are willing to invest.

One very worthwhile investment is a shredding or mulching machine. The trick to chipping is to send the branches or sticks through the machine within three days of cutting them before they become too hard and brittle. Have your blades sharpened or replaced at a lawnmower shop at least once a year.


Compost pile from garden waste
The easiest way to process your Bokashi-treated food waste is to build a traditional compost pile using garden waste. The pallet-collar box, as illustrated here, is an inexpensive option to manage the composting process.
Garden waste includes:

  • grass clippings
  • raked leaves
  • old cut plant leaves
  • twigs and
  • branches.

The twigs and branches are best sent through a shredder or mulching machine.

Processing Bokashi-treated food waste
Open a hole in your compost pile and enclose the food waste in it.

The food scraps will then decompose with the rest of the garden waste and make the most nutrient-rich compost.

For best results, turn your compost pile every month. Make sure your compost has a moisture content of about 60% to raise the temperature and kill weeds. You can check moisture content by squeezing a handful of compost; you should almost see a drip. For a finer consistency, toss the compost through a builder’s sieve. The EM in bokashi speeds up the decomposition of organic waste. While a conventional compost pile typically takes 7 to 10 months to finish, garden waste to which bokashi food waste has been added is ready compost within 7 to 10 weeks, depending on how hot it is.
Sometimes chicken bones, corn cobs and fruit pips have not fully decomposed yet, so it is advisable to just put them through the shredder.

Green garden waste contains a lot of nitrogen, while brown garden waste is mostly carbon. As a garden owner, you need to find a way to dispose of your garden waste. If you choose to compost, you will be giving valuable nutrients back to your garden. This way, you will not have to buy large amounts of expensive fertilizer.

An important piece of equipment in your garden shed is a shredder or mulcher. The shredder reduces the volume of garden waste by an average of 75%. This way you save space in your garden and you can move your compost faster.

This compost box is made of non-toxic treated wood. The basic unit consists of four tiers, which can be added to give the compost box a larger capacity. Each board has a slot cut in it to build up to the board below. When you turn the compost box, the top boards become the bottom as you turn it and is a really neat way to manage the composting system.

For small gardens
If you don’t have a lot of space in your garden or your dogs can’t resist digging up your beds, you can turn your food waste into compost using a compost bin.

Compost bin
You can buy a custom-made compost bin that has an opening at the bottom to pull out ready-to-use compost or you can make your own using a plastic dustbin. Drill some holes in the bottom of the bin so the worms can find the compost, or cut the base off completely. Cut a three-sided flap at the bottom of the bin so you can scoop out the compost.

Process for composting and processing bokashi-treated food waste
Start with some soil in the bottom of the bin and add garden waste as you clean out your beds in the garden or mow the lawn.

Add bokashi-fermented food waste in a layering process.

Cover again with a generous layer of soil.

Add garden waste such as raked leaves, grass clippings, and shredded twigs and branches.

As the garden waste and food waste decompose, they will turn into compost and compact in the bottom of the bin. Scoop out compost when you need to add it to your garden.

Larvae of the black soldier fly
This form of composting attracts the black soldier fly. They are the fastest decomposers of all. They will consume the contents of a 25-litre bucket of bokashi food waste within 5 days. They are fascinating to watch, and you can even hear them as they eat their way through the food waste. This method of composting tends to be quite moist, so adding garden waste to the bin will help dry it out.
If you are lucky enough to keep chickens, the dried out larvae make an excellent protein-rich feedstock.
The black soldier fly is completely harmless to humans. It doesn’t transmit diseases, cannot sting, and is useful because of its decomposition abilities. They also don’t feed on plants or grass. If you’re fortunate enough to attract them to your compost bin, rejoice: once the larvae have completely eaten the food waste, scoop the very moist waste out of the bottom of the bin and mix it into the soil in your garden. These are incredibly rich, healthy trace minerals that you’re adding directly to your soil. The waste will have a slight “organic” smell. Don’t stress about it, just mix it in.


If you have space in your garden and your soil needs nutrients, dig a trench about a spade deep and a meter long.

Bury the contents of your Bokashi Bran bucket and cover it completely with soil. Within 7 to 10 weeks, the food waste will have decomposed and returned nutrients to the soil. During the summer months, food waste decomposes more quickly. After 2 weeks, you can plant directly in the area where you buried the food waste. If you want to use the soil elsewhere in your garden, mix in the food waste that has not fully decomposed after about 5 weeks. Turning the soil will only speed up the process. If you have dogs, cover the area with chicken wire for a few weeks to prevent the dogs from digging up the food scraps.

Digging the soil around your plants to a depth of about 15cm deep will attract earthworms. If you have an already established garden, you can dig small trenches between plants and bury the food waste in them. The picture above shows seedlings with small rows of food waste around them. Cover the food waste with soil, and within 5 to 7 weeks it will have decomposed, creating healthy soil that supports worm life. Use a small hand spade and “spoon” the food waste into the trenches and cover the mini trenches with soil.

The worms love it!


Bokashi Bran has collaborated with the Artisan Training Institute to develop a compost tumbler. The tumbler for home use has a capacity of 100 litres and turns 2 x 25-litre buckets of bokashi food waste into compost within 4 weeks. The Compost Tumbler is the fastest, easiest and cleanest way to turn your food waste into compost.

Household Tumblers:
The tumbler is made of stainless steel and has a long service life. The stand is made of mild steel. (Approximately R7500 excluding delivery – subject to change depending on steel prices)

If you have dogs that dig in your bokashi, this is also a great option to consider.

Garden waste such as fallen leaves, grass clippings and shredded twigs and branches are mixed with the fermented bokashi food waste and placed in the tumbler. Mix 1 part food waste to 4 parts shredded garden waste.

The tumbler has a handle that is turned regularly for 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks, the tumbler is emptied and left outside for 2 weeks.

Strain it through a sieve and use it in your garden.



Feeding worms
You can feed worms cooked food, proteins (meat products), citrus fruits and dairy products if the food waste has been treated with bokashi. BUT… follow these guidelines: VERY IMPORTANT!

1. Make sure you have fermented your food waste for 2 weeks before feeding the worms.

2. First, gradually add the bokashi food waste to the corner of the worm farm with a small spoon.

3. The worms have to get used to the changed pH-value, so you should take 4 to 6 weeks to change your worm bin.

4. The worms will eat all bokashi food waste, including meat, citrus and cooked food.

Worms in your garden:
Worm boxes can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance. It is also much better to have worms in your garden where nature intended them to be, rather than in a plastic worm bin. Earthworms in your garden recycle organic waste into a high quality soil conditioner. They aerate, till and fertilise the soil, improving soil structure and nutrient and water holding capacity, while breaking down organic waste into plant-available forms. The castings or compost produced by earthworms contain up to 10 times more nutrients than normal soil and are more readily available to plants.

Earthworms kill bad bacteria and produce lots of good bacteria. Everything that passes through an earthworm’s gut is covered with beneficial microbes and bacteria that continue to break down organic material into plant-available nutrients and also suppress the growth of pathogens. This means healthy soil and healthy plants.

They shorten the composting time.

Most earthworms are either composters (digestors), turning waste into soil improvers, or soil workers (turners), living in the soil, improving soil conditions and promoting plant growth. Burying your fermented bokashi food waste after some time will encourage the earthworm population in your garden.


Step 1: Collecting garden waste

  • Foliage/leaves
  • Grass
  • Old plants

This pile should be watered immediately to start the composting process.

  • Branches

Should be dumped into a separate pile until enough has accumulated to use a shredder.

Setting up the compost heap

Set up 8 open windrows to process your organic waste.

These mini windrows need to be turned every week. You can either move each row to the next row or simply turn the heap over with a fork and mix it through to aerate the heap.

Use a structured system to add food waste to each pile.

Turn the piles every week

In bin 1, collect the first green waste and food waste treated with bokashi.

If you need to add food waste more than once in week 1, add each day’s waste in turn.

After one week, bin 1 is moved to bin 2 and bin 1 receives a new load of green waste.

Each subsequent week, the pile is moved up one bin.

This process is repeated eight times until week 1’s pile has advanced all the way to pile 8. The product in the eighth bin is then ready for use, and compost is available every week thereafter.

  • The other option is to aerate and mix the heaps each week and not physically move them along the rows.

Irrigation of the compost heap is important to retain heat. The water content in compartments 1 to 6 should be about 60%. To check how much water you have, squeeze out a handful of compost and you should see almost a drip. Do not water bins 7 and 8 as they are now drying out and can be sieved.

Small site with less than 1 tonne of food waste
A site with less than one tonne of food waste can compost successfully with a compost bin that is turned every month.

Collect the garden waste in the bin and add the food waste by burying it inside the pile. Make sure the food waste is covered with garden waste. Turn the compost every month and use the finished compost at the bottom of the garden.

Do not cover the compost heap with a tarp
Many people feel the need to cover the compost heap with a tarp, believing that this will keep the heat inside the heap and speed up composting. However, this only creates a warm home for rats to breed in. DO NOT Cover the compost with anything except garden waste.

Building the 8 compost heaps
The 8 windrows can be built from a variety of materials and the size can vary depending on the amount of garden and wet waste produced. In addition, an underground tank can be installed to collect run-off water and direct it to the gardens via a submersible pump.
If building compost bins is not possible for financial reasons, you can simply make space for 8 free-standing piles. Aim for a cone or pyramid shape pile so that the moisture stays in the compost.

The compost can be sieved to obtain a cleaner and finer product. The oversized organic material that remains after sieving can be put back into the first bin for further composting, or it can be used as mulch.
A small builders sieve is sufficient for a small site.

Things that take the longest to decompose
Chicken & meat bones, avocado pips and corn cobs take the longest to decompose in the compost pile. Take them out when screening and run them through the shredder to help them decompose faster.
Add food waste treated with bokashi to the compost heap.
Bokashi is revolutionary in composting
It allows us to compost cooked food, proteins (meat products) and dairy products. If food waste has been properly treated with bokashi, your compost should not have any unpleasant odours. When adding Bokashi-treated food waste to your garden waste pile, make sure the food waste is properly covered with garden waste. If it is not properly covered, it will attract flies, which will then lay eggs.

Essential elements of composting
Mother Nature takes very good care of composting, and we in South Africa are lucky to have sunshine almost all year round. For composting to be easy and successful, the following elements are required:

  • Warmth – a predominantly sunny spot is more beneficial than one in the shade. This helps heat to develop in the compost heap which kills the weeds. The EM® in the Bokashi Bran® kills pathogens.
  • Oxygen – Once we move on to the composting part of food waste recycling, tuning the piles to oxygenate also speeds up the process.
  • Carbon and nitrogen – The carbon element is the brown garden waste, while the food waste is the nitrogen element. There are beneficial aerobic phototrophic microbes in the bokashi that help combine nitrogen and carbon to make a healthy compost.
watering a compost pile

Environmental Stewardship

Food waste is one of the largest contributing factors to global warming. Are you disposing of your food waste in a responsible, eco-friendly manner?

Reduce Food Waste

By separating food waste, it brings the focus on where unnecessary wastage is occurring. This translates into cost saving.


Zero Food Waste To Landfill

Reduces your landfill waste by up to 40%


Reduce Waste Collection Costs

Food waste only needs to be collected once a month if it is treated with authentic Bokashi Bran® and the lid is kept sealed.