Bokashi Bran, Composting Inside Using A Bucket

Bokashi Bran will allow you to compost any organic waste -indoors- using nothing more than a sealed bucket. Technically speaking, Bokashi is a process of fermentation that preserves all of the nutrients, minerals and trace elements contained in organic waste. Once it is incorporated into your soil it quickly breaks down and provides an excellent form of fertilizer for your vegetables.


Unlike traditional composting that uses aerobic bacteria to breakdown organic matter there is no heat, methane or carbon dioxide produced during fermentation. You do not need to turn it or add water and you never have to be concerned with carbon to nitrogen ratios. Simply add your kitchen scraps, press them down firmly and sprinkle a covering of Bokashi Bran over the top and put the cover back on. It does not get any easier than that!

Bokashi Bran allows you to ferment all your organic waste

As long as you are careful to keep your bucket’s contents as compacted as possible and covered in an airtight container at all times, you can compost every bit of organic waste that your household generates. And I mean every bit of it, from orange peels and fish scraps to hair balls and nail clippings. Starting your own Bokashi bucket will naturally process all of your households organic waste into a form that is easily broken down in your soil. The secret behind Bokashi Bran is that it is inoculated with billions of friendly anaerobic bacteria. These are the same types of bacteria that are used in making pickles, bread, cheese, wine and even your favorite yogurt. Inside your bucket this bacteria ferments your organic waste instead of composting which uses aerobic bacteria. Bokashi Bran is made by inoculating wheat or rice bran with EM-1 (the EM stands for “Effective Microorganisms”) This is a proprietary formulation of several strains of yeast, photosythetic bacteria and lactic acid bacteria. EM-1 is pathogen free and does not contain any form of GMO's. Once it is introduced into your soil these microorganisms go to work helping your plants grow healthy while assisting in overpowering any disease pathogens present in the soil.

"Effective Microorganisms" is a term that was coined by Dr. Tuero Higa, who first discovered and pioneered the field of combining several species of bacteria and yeast in a single liquid culture. That all happened while he was a professor at the College of Agriculture in Okinawa, Japan back in the late 1960’s.

When I was first began researching this, I found that there are no other formulations that contain Dr. Higa's discovery. (EM-1 is patent protected)
Teraganix they are the only laboratory licensed to produce and distribute EM-1 in the United States and they have been doing so since 1992.

What can expect when I start indoor composting?
Your waste is not going to decompose, it will retain relatively the same bulk as it had when it went into the bucket. It will not turn black or rot. Nothing is broken down and therefore nothing gets wasted. The entire contents will become inoculated with Effective Microorganisms after two weeks, you then bury it in your garden where it then will decompose at a much faster rate than composting. When your bucket is full, press it down to remove excess air and then apply another slight layer of bran. Bokashi_bury

How long does it take?
After you have filled your bucket, set it aside and wait at least two weeks before burying in your garden. When you remove the cover, you will probably notice white fungus growing on the top, this is a good sign and is a visual indicator that it is fermented properly. I personally do not fill my buckets all the way to the top because it is just too heavy to lift them. Generally I dig a hole in one of my raised beds, empty a bucket, then cover it back up with about four inches or more of soil. I have observed that after about three weeks, other than a bit of orange peel or a large piece that wasn't cut up, there is little that I can see that hasn't been decomposed.

Recently I have been using a raised bed that has a very thick layer of shredded leaves on top. I push the leaves aside and empty the bucket right on top of the dirt. It is hard to miss the mass of worms that are feasting away! I did not buy any, they just showed up and started multiplying! I have huge night crawlers and red wigglers and who knows how may other varieties.

Finished Bokashi is also excellent for container gardening as well. I add a few inches of finished Bokashi into the bottom of a container and then cover the remaining space with soil and plant as usual. It will feed your plants all season long without the need for fertilizer.

Depending on how much you plan on using you can either purchase pre-made Bokashi Bran or you can save some money buy making your own. It is a very simple process and is actually quite an enjoyable project to involve the kids with as it is Non-Toxic!

Bokashi Bran Recipe: (Large Batch)


  • A small bottle of EM-1 from Teraganix (under $16)
  • A 50 pound bag of either rice bran or wheat bran. You can find it at most any cattle feed store. I use the wheat bran because it is about half the cost of rice bran ( under $15 including tax)
  • 3 gallons of distilled water (under $1 each)
  • 1 bottle of molasses (under $5 at most grocery stores)

    Instructions: Place a tarp (8’x10’) on a flat surface such as your drive way or garage floor. In a large 5 gallon bucket, empty the 3 gallons of distilled water. (Use distilled as the chlorine in drinking water may very well kill off all the microorganisms before you even get started and you don‘t want any other contaminants like fluoride either) mix 1/3 cup of your EM-1 (Effective Microorganisms) and 1/3 cup of molasses. You can stir it up sufficiently in about 20 seconds with your clean washed hands. Slowly pour the mixture over the wheat bran that you have spread out fairly evenly on the tarp. Now the fun part! Simply mix it up well using nothing but your hands. When it is all mixed you should be able to take a handful and squeeze it without anything dripping down your arm, if not mix it up little more. You are done when it is moist enough to hold its shape after you squeeze it yet somewhat crumbly.

    Now that it is all mixed up start loading it into black plastic garbage bags being careful not to fill them in to heavy to lift safely or tear. For added security, I double up the bags. Important, squeeze ALL the air out of the bag before you twist it up and tie it off! Remember we are growing anaerobic bacteria in there, excess air will only slow the process. Once you have it all bagged up, put it in an undisturbed location and allow the microorganisms to inoculate all the wheat bran. I ended up with about 6 good sized bags and since my garage is pretty much full, placed them in the back of my suburban.Bokashi_drying

    After two weeks, lay out your tarp again and empty all your bags. Spread it out evenly and allow it to dry out in the full sun. I had to stir mine around three or four times over the course of the day. Once it was dried sufficiently, I put it in a large lawn and leaf bag, tucked inside of a 35 gallon plastic barrel. The barrel has a removable top and a locking band that holds it in place. Just remember to squeeze out all the air before you seal up your bag and lock the top on.

    You now have enough Bokashi to keep a couple buckets going at all times throughout the year. You can also add Bokashi bran in with potting soil or directly into your garden to help replenish microbes in the soil.

    Bokashi Bran Recipe: Small Batch


  • 2 ½ pounds of bulk wheat or rice bran from you favorite organic store.
  • 1 ½ teas spoons of EM-1 available in the US only from Teraganix
  • 3 tablespoons of molasses.
  • 3 cups of distilled water.


    Mix all ingredients together as detailed above. Store it in a couple large zip-lock baggies for two weeks. (Go ahead and double bag these so you eliminate any possibility of an air leak). Put in a dark location for at least two weeks. Small batches that are perfect for those with limited space or simply want to test a small batch before making a large batch.

    I would be remiss if I did not disclose that when buying pre-made bran from Teraganix you are getting a product that is made under strict laboratory conditions by experienced professionals. They also add some special ingredients to give it added effectiveness. (such as EM ceramic powder). These obviously are not factored into the price of making your own.

    When you visit Teraganix's website you will be amazed at the many applications that Effective Microorganisms are being used. From aquaponics to cleaning up oil spills and ceramics to large scale composting facilities. What started off as an 'accident' has become one of the greatest advancements in organic gardening and sustainable agriculture in the last century.

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