How to Make Your Own Bokashi Bin

This week in the Flog:

  • Dirt Simple bokashi bin instructions
  • Make your own bokashi bin and get started bokashi composting today

So you’ve heard about this bokashi composting business and you want to start doing it yourself at home, turning your kitchen and other waste into great fermented fertilizer ready for the garden or compost pile. Awesome! Where to start? Should you buy a bokashi bin? And also buy bokashi bran? No need, you can make both at home very easily. Let’s look at the bokashi bin.

The principles of the bokashi bin are pretty simple:

  • Keep the inside anaerobic (oxygen free)
  • Allow moisture to drain into another oxygenless environment (not required but nice to have)
  • Allow you to add more stuff in the top

So based on these principles, you can make your own bin any number of ways – a million different ways to make a bokashi bin that works great and costs almost nothing. I’m going to cover a very simple way to make your own bokashi bin so you can get started bokashi composting quickly and easily.

First you’ll need two 5-gallon buckets.

Bokashi Bin - two buckets

Start with two 5-gallon buckets – one will nest in the other; the bottom will hold the drainage.

The bottom bucket will catch the leachate, or moisture draining from the bokashi composting process, and the top bucket will hold all the fermenting material. The top will fit in the bottom bucket like this:

Bokashi Bin - Nesting

The top bucket (yellow), fits in the bottom bucket (black) – like so

You’ll need at least one 5-gallon bucket lid that seals well, to go on the top bucket, to keep the environment anaerobic. I’ll steal the lid of the black bucket since it seals well on my top bucket:

Bokashi Bin - cap the bucket

You want to use a lid that seals well on the top bucket – to keep it anaerobic, the conditions needed for bokashi composting

Now time to cut a hole in the top bucket to let the moisture (bokashi leachate) drain during fermentation. Here’s my hole in the bottom of the yellow bucket, which will be my top bucket that holds all the fermenting matter:

Bokashi Bin - Drainage Hole

Cut a hole in the top bin (the bin that will hold the fermenting matter). The hole lets the fluid from the fermenting matter drain out into the bottom bucket.

You can see it’s several inches across. To keep things falling through initially, just put a few pieces of newspaper over the hole before you first add stuff to the bucket. The newspaper will rot out, but not much will fall through by that time since the pressure pretty much keeps everything in the bucket tight. Here’s how it looks just before adding stuff – I’ve covered the hole in the yellow bucket with newspaper:

Bokashi Bin - cover the hole

Cover the drainage hole with newspaper before you start composting. That will keep the initial ingredients from dropping through.

That is basically everything you need to know to make your own simple, cheap bokashi bin. Here’s what it looks like all finished. The top bucket has the lid on, and rests inside the lower bucket which catches the leachate.

Bokashi Bin - finished bin

Now you can see the whole simple system all set up. I’ll add bokashi ingredients to the top (yellow) bucket, and ferment them there. Time to start bokashi composting!

Here are some advanced tips to help your bokashi bin be an even more effective bokashi composting system:

  • Not all buckets form a perfect seal when you nest them. You can pick up a rubber window/door sealant at most hardware stores. Stick that around the top bucket so that when you nest them, it forms a tight seal. This will keep the chamber for the leachate perfectly anaerobic – a good thing to keep the leachate smell free and keep the flies away.
  • When you are first adding ingredients to the top bucket for fermentation, you have a lot of empty space that is oxygen-rich from you opening the bokashi bin to add ingredients. Keep your ingredients sealed from that space – you can use any number of methods to achieve this. The cutout plastic top of a 5-gallon bucket works since it forms a nice fit. You can also use plastic, like a black plastic bag, stretched across the top and weighted down with rocks. The rocks help compress the materials also, expelling any air that might be there.

There tons of methods to make great bokashi composting bins at home. I like this method since it is so quick and easy, and perfectly effective for making your own bokashi compost.

Do you have your own homemade bokashi bin at home? Share your bin with the community – we have a lot of active readers that will benefit from your knowledge and experience.

  • Doug Hurd

    Thanking you for the effort and info. Just curious, why one big hole in the bucket, instead of many little holes. Just trying to let the liquid drain. Fear the big hole will enable solids to drop through.

    • Patrick

      Hey Doug, no reason there, it just worked out that way. Many smaller holes would work just as well or better. Yeah, for the big hole I use newspaper to stop the initial solids dropping through – by the time the newspaper rots out, nothing more falls really.

  • […] the jug on some bokashi leachate that I fear is nasty. So remember I wrote a flog some time back on how to make your own bokashi bin? Well the bin I made is great but it doesn’t quite seal between the top bucket (full of […]

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