Note that your bokashi will still look much the same when it has finished fermenting. It will only turn to soil once it is mixed with soil in the ground or in a container — you won’t get soil in your bucket.
The basic principle is to mix the fermented bokashi with some kind of soil and wait for it to change from food waste to fertile soil. This will take from two to four weeks in “real” soil but the speed depends on how much microbial life there is in the original soil. Try adding some brown leaves when you dig down your bokashi – they add valuable carbon and structure to the soil.
There are a number of different methods, but all involve mixing bokashi with soil in some type of hole or container.
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Dig a trench in the ground and empty the contents of the fermented bokashi barrel. Mix with soil/sand and cover with a 10-30 cm layer of soil/sand.
Create a raised bed using planks, logs, bricks or other materials on top of the ground. If there is grass or weeds on the location, cover them with of a thick layer newspaper or cardboard (not plastic) before making the bed. No need to dig. Empty the contents of the bokashi barrel and cover with soil/sand.
Use any form of planting container to make soil in. Layer soil/bokashi/soil in this. 50:50 bokashi:soil is ideal. You will need a drainage hole. Ensure the mixture is reasonable well mixed and add a layer of soil/sand to the top of the container. Water only as needed to keep the contents moist but not wet.
In all cases, it makes sense to cover the soil factory loosely for the first couple of weeks to protect from heavy rain and curious animals. Some animals love the smell of bokashi and will dig! The soil needs to be able to breathe, so should not be covered tightly.
Check after a couple of weeks and see how the process is going. When you can no longer see the food waste, it means it has been absorbed into the soil and the soil can be used, either for planting or as a fertilizer.
If you wish, you can add another layer of bokashi and soil on top of the first layer.
You can plant at any time, but make sure no plant roots will touch the bokashi in the first two weeks after it is buried down. During this period, the bokashi is quite acidic and will burn the roots. If you are sowing from seeds into a top layer of soil, you can probably sow on the same day you bury your bokashi as the seeds will take a couple of weeks to grow deep roots.
This is the ideal solution if you have a lot of dry leaves in your garden. Here we explain how to build your own compost stack and make the best possible use of all your green and brown garden waste.
Read more: How to make a bokashi compost stack
We’ve made a list of frequently asked questions here!