Bokashi composting is a fantastic way to compost food scraps from your kitchen in an easy, affordable and convenient way. The cool thing about the Bokashi system is that meat, dairy, bread, and a range of other 'non-compostable' items can be composted using this system. Why?
Because traditional compost making takes place in the presence of oxygen (out on a compost pile in the garden for example), whereas in the Bokashi method, air is excluded completely. This is called anaerobic (without oxygen) and is actually more akin to the fermentation process that is used for fermenting vegetables.
You compost/ferment your kitchen scraps in your bin, then they can be transferred to the garden beds, added to a compost pile, or used to feed your worm farm.
Pre-manufactured Bokashi compost bins like this one on Amazon or this two bin system retail for between $40 - $100 or so, depending on what's included. To be honest, that's not a lot of money for a bespoke bin, with everything you need to get started.
You get a bucket or two complete with drain tap, some Bokashi bran to add to your food scraps, a scraper to remove the compost, and a full set of instructions and guide. A system like this should keep you going for months before you need to buy more bran.
In this article, I'm going to detail how to make your own Bokashi bucket, even if you're a DIY phobic. A few cheap items and tools that most people already own, and you're off to the races.
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Why Build A DIY Homemade Bokashi Bucket?
Being something of a skinflint myself, always looking to create what I can out of nothing, a DIY homemade Bokashi bucket seemed like a great plan. And it is!
Although a homemade Bokashi bin doesn't have the aesthetics of a custom model, it does the same job, and for the homesteader/composter who wants to reduce costs, a DIY Bokashi bin is a great little project.
You should be able to construct your bin system for around $30. If you have some buckets or bins at home already, the cost could be much less. That makes for a really cheap Bokashi setup.
What You'll Need For Your Easy DIY Bokashi Bin
There are a wide range of bins you can use for this. The ones in the video below are large plastic trash cans. These are awesome, but I prefer a smaller compost bin that I can have in the kitchen, close to where all the food preparation takes place, so I prefer a couple of 5 gallon buckets with lids.
Equipment List - All from Amazon.com
An electric or battery drill with a 1/4 inch drill bit (most people have this at home already so I won't link to it). You'll also need a small hole cutter to allow you to add the tap. The tap listed below is for a 3/4 inch opening.
A plastic tap to screw into the outer bucket to allow you to drain off any liquid.
Plumbing tape - probably not essential unless you have a leaking tap joint.
Bokashi Bran - For when you begin composting.
DIY Bokashi Bin Instructions
Feel free to follow the directions in the video, all is explained, but if you prefer a step by step guide, here it is.
- Choose one bucket to be the outer bucket of your Bokashi composter. This can be put to one side while you turn the other bucket over and use the small drill bit to drill 30 or so holes in the bottom, around an inch or so apart os perfect. Remove any swarf or plastic shards so you are left with nice clean holes.
- Take the outer bucket and using your hole cutter, cut a hole fairly close to the bottom on a flat section of the side. Aim for the bottom of the hole to be an inch or so up from the bottom edge, this will ensure you can screw the plastic nut on the inside and that the washers are pressing against a flat surface.
- Screw the drain tap in, using some plumbers tape. This is usually not needed as the taps come with thick rubber washers that fix inside and out.
- Place the inner bucket with the drilled holes inside the outer bucket with the tap and you're done. Add the lid and grab a cuppa.
- Start adding food scraps to your bin.
- Drain off the liquid Bokashi tea every couple of days to use as liquid fertilizer.
Tips For Using Your Homemade Bokashi
All you now need to do is start using your bin. If you've only just ordered your bran, hold fire. You're going to need it. Or you might decide to make your own diy bokashi bran mix too.
What If The Lid Isn't Air Tight? - Bokashi composting is an aerobic system, air needs to be excluded. If the lid isn't a super tight fit, then covering the bin opening with some plastic or even an old piece of cloth can work well to tighten the seal. This will often allow the lid to snap on more tightly.
If you've never composted this way before, this short video is very informative.
How To Use Bokashi (video)
Altogether, this DIY homemade Bokashi bucket system should cost you around $30. You can probably find some free 5 gallon buckets from a local restaurant if you want to go real cheap. Or grab the gear from Home Depot.
If you struggle to find cheap materials, then the purpose made Bokashi system is actually really good value and your don't have to spend time on your hands and knees making the thing, which is always a bonus.
Great, I really hope you found this useful and can get into Bokashi. I love it, I waste far less food, and the garden seems to love it too.
Join me for fun and adventures in homesteading land.