Bokashi - Japan - ARI - The ARI Bokashi Making Method
by the Asian Rural Institute
submitted January 2020
Making Bokashi at ARI
Bokashi is a fermented fertilizer we make at ARI by mixing organic materials, soil, and biochar (like rice husk charcoal) with indigenous micro-organisms (IMOs). We use bokashi to fertilize many of our fruit and vegetable crops. While almost any organic materials can become bokashi, we use local resources to make our bokashi.
To learn more about why we make bokashi, how we use it, and the ingredients we use to make it click here:
Tomoko-san, the director of ARI, with bokashi she made
The recipe ARI uses for bokashi is
7 containers fermented chicken manure from chicken house floor
4 containers soil
2 containers rice husk charcoal
1 container rice bran
4-5 handfuls of IMO3
(The standard container size in Japan is about 46 liters, see the photo below)
Create the base of your bokashi by adding the manure and soil to a pile.
Mix the soil and manure thoroughly with a shovel.
Add water while mixing to cut down on dust.
Add the rice bran and rice husk charcoal and continue to mix while adding water.
Apply the IMO3 and continue to mix while adding water.
Check the moisture content of the bokashi. You can do this by squeezing a handful of the mixture. You want the mixture to form a ball in your hand. If water squeezes out, your mixture is too wet. If the mixture does not form a ball, add more water.
Cover the bokashi with a blanket or rice straw. Bokashi requires air circulation, so a plastic cover cannot be used.
Monitor the temperature of the bokashi. Once the bokashi reaches 50°C, turn the pile to cool it down and give oxygen to the micro-organisms (especially the koji bacteria). Do not allow the bokashi to exceed 60°C. Above this temperature, many of the micro-organisms will die. If you are making bokashi in a tropical area, make your bokashi pile low and wide (only about 20cm tall) so that it does not get too hot inside.
Turn the bokashi once a day until its temperature becomes the same as the air temperature. This usually takes 7 days in the summer and 14 days in the winter in Japan. In tropical countries, you can turn it twice a day for 5 days. You will know your bokashi is succeeding if you find a lot of white spots, which are IMOs.
Dry bokashi for storage. If it is dry, you can keep it for 6 months to 1 year.
Keep finished bokashi under the shade of a roof to avoid strong sunlight, rain, and wind. Strong sunlight kills the micro-organisms in bokashi.