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Bokashi / Composting

Bokashi Compost Tea: How to Use this Incredible Fertilizer!

Have you been doing bokashi composting but never been sure of what to do with the bokashi compost tea? If yes, then you’re in the right place. This article covers all the essential information regarding bokashi tea, along with ways to make and effectively use this fertilizer in your garden.

Bokashi is a composting technique that has been used by gardeners all around the world because of its convenient and quick decomposition process.

Not only this, where some composting methods are restricted in what can be added, the bokashi composting method can compost almost all kitchen scraps. This includes meat and other cooked leftovers. The end result is a fertile pre-compost and beneficial bokashi compost tea fertilizer! Learn all about Bokashi vs. Compost here.

But as today’s article will elaborate on, one of the greatest benefits of bokashi composting is the incredible nutrient-rich byproduct it creates – bokashi tea!

Bokashi tea harvested from compost bucket, how to use bokashi compost tea as fertilizer

What is Bokashi Composting?

Bokashi is a Japanese word that means “fermented organic matter.” The system was introduced in the early 1980s by Dr. Teuro Higa, a Japanese biologist and agronomist. The main objective of bokashi is to seal layers of food scraps in an airtight container and ferment the waste with the help of effective microorganisms.

This type of composting method relies on bokashi bran to break down organic matter into nutrient-rich and odor-free pre-compost. Bokashi bran is a mixture of sawdust-looking bran mixed with water, molasses, and valuable microbes. This inoculant mixture is dried, packaged, and used in bokashi composting to facilitate the fermentation and decomposition process.

6 Benefits of Bokashi Compost Tea

Besides providing an eco-friendly solution for disposing of organic waste, bokashi composting is known for producing an amazing byproduct, bokashi compost tea.

Here’s how this liquid can benefit your plants and the environment:

1. Soil Enrichment

Bokashi tea is loaded with essential nutrients and minerals that are significant for the growth of indoor plants, lawns, and flowers. Gardeners can also sprinkle this juice over heavily planted areas where it is relatively difficult to add the pre-compost directly.

2. Enhanced Microbial Activity

The bokashi compost liquid features millions of thriving microbes that improve the microbial activity of the soil.

3. Suppressing Soil-Borne Pathogens

Including microbes such as lactic acid bacteria, bokashi tea also does a commendable job at keeping soil-borne diseases at bay.

4. Faster Nutrient Uptake by Plants

Thanks to its unique microbial interaction between the soil and the plantations, bokashi tea promotes speedier nutrient uptake and water absorption for overall healthy and better plant growth.

5. Decreased Need for Chemical Fertilizers

The bacteria in the bokashi tea boosts the composting process and adds moisture to the compost pile. It’s proven to be a great fertilizer, foliar spray, and soil additive simultaneously and reduces the need to purchase chemical fertilizers for thriving plant growth.

6. Free of Cost

Why bother investing in expensive pesticides or fertilizers when bokashi compost tea promises to get the job done free of cost? Remember to periodically drain out the juice from your bokashi bin and watch your plants blossom.

How To Make Bokashi Compost Tea?

Having talked enough about the numerous benefits of bokashi compost tea, it is time we move on to the next step: how to make bokashi compost tea at home.

Step 1: Extract the bokashi liquid

Extract the bokashi liquid from your bokashi bin either through the spigot or bucket method. Empty the liquid every 1-2 days and use it the same day if possible.

You can use this fabulous fertilizer after properly diluting it, following the guidelines below 

Step 2: Dilute the bokashi liquid

  • Dilute the extracted bokashi liquid at a ratio of 1:100 (2-3 tablespoons of bokashi liquid to 5 litres of water) as a liquid fertilizer for your garden. Use it to water the base of your plants and they’ll love you forever!
  • Dilute 1:200 (1-2 teaspoons to 5 litres of water) to spray the foliage of your plants.

As for the undiluted bokashi liquid, pour it directly into drains, sinks, showers and toilets. The microbiology will work wonders to clean your pipes and especially benefit septic tanks.

Making Bokashi compost tea from your bokashi bin, dilute the bokashi liquid

Step 3: Storing the bokashi liquid

It’s recommended to use all of the bokashi liquid within a day after extracting it. However, if any leftover remains, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dark place. 

Keeping the bokashi liquid for more than two days may produce an unpleasant smell and lower its fertility-increasing ability so it’s always best to use it fresh.

How To Use Bokashi Tea In The Garden

How to use bokashi juice is a question many gardeners ask. Bokashi juice or tea can be used in various ways in the garden. 

It’s commonly used as a soil drench to add a nutrient boost to plants, or as a foliar spray to deter harmful pests and diseases.

After diluting it with sufficient water, bokashi tea can be incorporated into a weekly watering routine. 

Learn more in my article on how to use bokashi in the garden.

weekly watering routine using bokashi compost tea, water garden with bokashi tea, how to use bokashi juice

Common Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

While making bokashi compost tea is a relatively simple process, there are still some precautions you must take to maximize the valuable benefits of this precious liquid. Here is a list of the most common mistakes and how you can tackle them without any hassles:

1. Not diluting the tea properly: 

Bokashi tea, by nature, is quite acidic and may harm the growth of sensitive plants if not diluted properly. Aim for a dilution rate of about 1:100 (juice: water) to acquire a safe acidity level for all types of plants.

2. Using tea from an improperly fermented bokashi bucket: 

A foul, putrid-smelling compost bin with visible blue or green mold indicates an improperly fermented bokashi process. In such cases, the bokashi tea also becomes useless, so always ensure that your container is airtight and protected from leaks.

3. Storing bokashi compost tea for too long: 

Bokashi tea should be extracted regularly and used within a day of extracting. If left for too long, the liquid putrefies and develops a foul odor as the bacteria’s food gets depleted and they die. However, adding a small amount of molasses (for microbe food) and keeping the tea in a dark, cool place can give you a few more days.

using bokashi compost tea to water plants, how to use bokashi juice

4. Over-applying or under-applying: 

Bokashi tea works best when used in moderation in the garden. Overapplying the compost may cause the acidity levels to rise considerably and kill sensitive plants. In contrast, under-applying the compost tea will take a long time to produce your desired results.

FAQs about Bokashi Compost Tea

What is the difference between Bokashi Compost Tea and Traditional Compost Tea?

Both these compost liquids are great for the garden; however the two differ significantly in their composition. Unlike traditional compost tea, bokashi tea contains millions of useful microbes, enhancing its microbial activity and nutrient content. 

Is Bokashi compost tea safe for all plants?

The extremely nutritious bokashi compost is safe for all indoor and outdoor lawns, flowers, vegetable beds, and plants.

How often should I use bokashi tea?

During the crop’s growing season, try to use the diluted bokashi tea at least once to twice weekly. Using fertilizer more than this amount can end up interfering with the production of the crop.

Can you use too much compost tea?

While using compost tea brings tremendous benefits to the garden, like anything, using it in excess could adversely affect a crop’s production and health. Aim for five gallons of compost tea per acre to avoid problems caused by overuse of the fertilizer.

How do you store any leftover tea?

Ideally, you should use the tea within a day of harvesting. If left with any leftover, store it in a cool place away from the direct sunlight. 

What is the white stuff in my bokashi tea?

The white mold is a fungus, indicating that the waste material’s fermentation has begun in the bokashi bucket. You are on the right track if you see this white stuff in your bokashi tea.

Final Words on Bokashi Compost Tea

From acting as a nutrient-rich fertilizer to increasing the soil’s microbial activity, bokashi compost tea is an excellent option to help produce a healthier crop and provide gardeners with a cheaper alternative to store bought fertilizers.

So what are you waiting for? Experiment with bokashi composting and make the most of its treasured byproduct – bokashi tea!

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About the Author

Elle Reed is a passionate gardener and advocate for teaching beginner gardeners how to grow their own food. Elle’s mission is to inspire and empower people to get back to basics, grow their own produce, and embrace a sustainable lifestyle. “Whether it’s a few herb pots in an apartment, a potager or a full garden plot, we can all ‘start somewhere’ to grow our own food, and in doing so, provide healthier food for ourselves and those we love”.