Bokashi is a great way to boost youtr composting, especially if you live in a small place but it can be pricey to keep buying the materiaks to keep it working. Fortunately, help is at hand. Where? Right here!
It’s easy (and cheap) to make an alternative to Bokashi bran at home from waste coffee grounds. You’ll need a little more coffee grounds than the average household will accumulate before it goes mouldy so make friends with your local coffee shop owner and they’ll be glad to give you their waste.
Coffee grounds aren’t the almost perfect source of carbon that bran is but it has a few other nutrients and is free. We have an article on the many benefits of coffee in your garden right here.
There’s an article on making youtr own Bokashi bran on this page and the technique is the same, you’re just using something different (and removed from your local food waste stream) as the substrate.
The molasses provides the sugars and nutrients then the microbes in the EM1 solution need to grow and multiply. We add the sea salt and bicarb soda to provide a little more nutrition and some trace elements to make sure our brew is extra healthy.
Mix the EM1 solution, clean water and molasses together in a clean container.
Add the pinch of sea salt and bicarb soda and mix thoroughly.
Mix the solution thoroughly through the coffee grounds making sure that the grounds don’t become waterlogged. The best way to do this is to squeeze a handful from time to time when mixing. If you can squeeze a handful into a loose ball that doesn’t fall apart as it sits on youtr plam, it is about right. If you give your handful a further squeeze not squeeze any more water out of it, it is perfect. If it doesn’t form a ball, it’s too dry, if you can squeeze water out of it, it’s too wet.
Put the innoculated grounds into an airtight container and press them down firmly to exclude as much air as possible. Bokashi is an anaerobic process and the presence of oxygen will ruin the mix.
As the microbes reproduce and eat the nutirents in the mix, they give off carbon dioxide as a waste product. This can cause your container to bulge or even pop its lid off afte a day or so. That’s a good sign and means that your bran is ready for drying.
Don’t worry if nothing ‘pops’. When you remove the lid of youtr container, you will be met with a little ‘hiss’ of escaping gas and /or a slightly sour fermented smell. Both of these means that your mixture is ready.
Drying the bran makes it ready for storage. To dry it, spread it over a flat surface out of full sunlight and stir it around ocassionally (at least twice a day) to ensure even drying.
When the mix is dry to yout touch, it’s ready and you can use some straight away or, seal it in an airtight container for future use.
Use your inocculated coffee grounds as you would your normal bran but add a little more than you would sually. A light dusting over the surface of your scraps as you add them to your Bokashi bin is fine.