Bokashi composting and how it supports our soil’s natural food web
“It’s not the soil itself; it’s the soil life that is the most important element.”
Geoff Lawton, world renowned permaculture consultant
To get the most out of our plants and gardens, we need to feed, nurture and support the diverse life beneath our plants. In doing so, we create soil that is healthy, live, organic, and ideal for plant health and vitality.
What is healthy soil?
Healthy soil is soil that is teeming with life. From the visible organisms (worms, bugs, and such) as well as the invisible life (microbes, such as, bacteria, fungi, and yeasts). Together these living organisms form the soil food web, each contributing in its own special way to the success of them all. As with most life systems, it’s the smallest organisms at the bottom of the food chain that are instrumental to the success of the whole. And for soil, these key organisms are the microbes. Simply put, healthy, natural soil begins with microbes. If soil is teeming with microbes, and has plenty of organic matter to feed them, the rest of the life will happily come and join them.
How does the soil food web benefit our plants?
The microbes in our soil and plant roots form one of the most (if not the most) fundamental symbiotic relationships in the natural world. A healthy plant, in healthy soil, will have microbes thriving around its roots. Without the microbes in the soil food web, plant life would simply not exist as we know it.
Until fairly recently, soil biologists believed that plant roots were a one way highway – where water and nutrients simply travelled upwards from the soil to the plant through the roots. Modern soil biologists now understand that plant roots are actually a two way system. Plants release as much as 40% of their energy into their root zones. This energy is released in the form of sugary carbohydrates, called exudates. Exudates have the primary purpose of attracting soil microbes to the plant roots. It is these microbes, through their digesting of the minerals and nutrients from the soil, which actually feed the plants. In other words, the plants feed the microbes and, in turn, the microbes feed the plants.
Without a healthy balance of microbes in the soil, the plants will simply not get the nutrients and minerals they need.
Store bought chemical and synthetic fertilizers claim to be an easy way to feed plants. But (and this is a big but!) these fertilizers are sulfate (salt) based, meaning they will kill the soil microbes and destroy the natural food web in your soil. These chemical fertilizers effectively create dead lifeless soil. Plants become dependent on more and more of these fertilizers simply to survive. This is a dangerous and unnecessary cycle. Instead, gardeners should pay attention to supporting and feeding their soil and the soil food web which, in turn, will feed and support healthy plants.
What is bokashi composting?
Bokashi composting is a traditional Japanese method of composting food waste. It is rapidly becoming many gardeners and growers preferred way of composting and building healthy soils.
The key to the bokashi compost process is fermentation. In using a bokashi bucket, you are using garden friendly microbes to rapidly ferment (or pickle) your food waste. This fermentation converts your food waste into a microbe-rich format where the nutrients and minerals are extremely accessible to your soil food web and plant roots.
Bokashi composting overcomes many of the difficulties of composting food waste using traditional composting methods. Bokashi is fast and easy, with the majority of the process completed in the convenience of your own kitchen. Unlike traditional backyard composting which only works on select food scraps, bokashi composting can be used for ALL food waste: dairy, cooked food, meats, grains, fruits and veggies… all food waste.
How to bokashi compost
Bokashi composting is a simple 4-step process. Firstly, add food waste to the indoor kitchen composter. Then, sprinkle with the microbe-infused bokashi bran mixture, and wait for 2 weeks for the fermentation process to complete. Next, the fermented food waste (bokashi pre-compost) is buried directly in your garden soil, compost pile or soil factory. In just 2 weeks the bokashi fermented food waste will be assimilated into the surrounding soil web, where it will benefit your soil food web and, in turn, the plants themselves. You are then ready for the final step… to grow your favorite plants. The whole process takes just 4 to 6 weeks to transform your food waste into high quality microbe and nutrient rich compost.
Learn more about how to bokashi.
How does bokashi support your soil’s food web?
Science shows that healthy soil begins with healthy and diverse, microbial activity. Adding quality microbe-rich compost to the soil is the only way to get that. In fact, adding quality compost to our soils is arguably the most important task for any gardener.
Bokashi compost is bursting with beneficial microbes. After all, bokashi composting is really all about generating billions of these garden-friendly microbes. Unlike other composting methods, bokashi compost is made entirely from food waste. Food waste is the cream of the crop for feeding beneficial microbes and has a much higher value for building healthy, bio-diverse soils than general yard trimmings do. When the bokashi’d food waste is added to your garden these garden-friendly microbes immediately benefit the soil structure and the plants living in it.
By adding bokashi to your garden, you are ensuring that the soil microbes will thrive, resulting in plants that develop stronger root structures, and have better growth, nutrition and resistance to pests and disease.
Get started with bokashi composting today buy online.
Remember, we depend on plants, plants depend on soil, and healthy soil depends on microbes.