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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

Bokashi Bran: How to Make and Use It for a Healthy Garden

Updated: Mar 9

Are you looking for a way to improve your garden's health and vitality? Bokashi Bran may be just what you need. This organic fertilizer is made from fermented wheat bran, rice husks, or soy hulls and has many benefits for plants.

Bokashi Bran helps suppress plant diseases, increase nutrient uptake, and promote healthy growth. In this article, we will discuss what Bokashi Bran is, how to make your brand at home, and some bokashi bran recipes.

I've successfully turned bokashi bran into nutrient-rich bokashi compost in my apartment. See my articles below:

What is Bokashi Bran?

Bokashi bran is a mix of EM microorganisms, molasses, and bran. The main ingredient in EM is lactic acid bacteria, which gives bokashi its distinctive smell.

It consists of:

Lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus fermentum, and Lactobacillus plantarum.

Yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Streptococcus thermophilus

Photosynthetic bacteria such as Rhodopseudomonas palustris, Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides

These are a friendly, non-harmful selection of microorganisms; in fact, you're likely to find these essential microbes in a probiotics pill.

How did Bokashi Bran begin?

Dr Terugo Higa

In the 1980s, Dr. Terugo Higa, a professor at the University of Ryukyus in Japan, discovered the selection of bacteria and yeasts that make up bokashi bran.

He did this because he suffered from chemical poisoning that came from the pesticides that were used in Japan. He wanted to find a farming solution that would create better compost without the use of chemicals.

Before he came along, the original form of bokashi bran consisted of adding an assortment of microbes available to the farmer who started the fermentation process.

His bokashi bran revolutionized bokashi composting as it could be dried, packaged, and distributed.

He was the first to be able to make bokashi bran widely available. It's sometimes said that he created bokashi, but that isn't true; bokashi already existed. He paired the ancient bokashi process with his selection of microbes.

What's the difference between Bokashi bran and EM, EM-1, Effective Microorganisms?

Bokashi bran is a combination of EM (Effective Microorganisms), microorganisms, molasses, and bran.

EM is a marketing term for a group of microorganisms discovered in the 1970s by Dr. Teruo Higa while working as a professor at the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.

The main difference between Bokashi Bran and EM is that Bokashi Bran comes together with bran so you'll commonly see it as a brown flake material. EM (Effective Microorganisms) comes in liquid form.

Which is better Bokashi Bran or EM?

Bokashi bran is a type of fermentation that effectively breaks down organic matter. It's also relatively easy to use and doesn't produce offensive odors. However, it can be expensive and requires special equipment.

EM (Effective Microorganisms) is another type of fermentation that is also effective at breaking down organic matter. It's less expensive than Bokashi bran and doesn't require special equipment. However, EM can produce offensive odors, and it's not as easy to use.

So, which is better? Bokashi bran or EM? Ultimately, the answer depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you're looking for an easy-to-use method that doesn't produce odors, then Bokashi bran might be your best option.

How does Bokashi Bran work?

The microbes in Bokashi Bran help to make fermented organic matter, making it easier for plants to absorb nutrients. Bokashi Bran also helps to suppress plant diseases and promote healthy growth.

How can bokashi bran be used as a compost accelerator?

Add bokashi bran to your compost pile or bin to use as a compost accelerator. The microbes in the Bokashi branch help break down the organic matter, making it easier for plants to absorb nutrients.

When is the best time to add bokashi bran to the compost bin or pile?

The best time to add Bokashi bran to the compost bin or pile is when you first start layering your organic matter. You can add a layer of Bokashi bran between each layer of organic matter or add it all at once.

How much Bokashi bran should be added to a compost bin or pile?

The amount of Bokashi bran that should be added will vary depending on the size of your compost bin or pile. A good rule of thumb is to add a handful of Bokashi bran for each layer of organic matter.

What are some other ways to use Bokashi Bran?

Bokashi bran can also be used as a top dressing for houseplants or outdoor plants. It can also be used to make fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. Or it can be used to make bokashi tea.

How to make bokashi tea

Bokashi tea is made by mixing one part of Bokashi bran with eight parts of water.

Let the mixture sit for 24 hours, then strain it and use it as a fertilizer for houseplants or outdoor plants.

Why is Bokashi Bran effective at fermenting food waste?

The beneficial microbes in the bran help each other, which is why bokashi bran works so well. They form a dominant relationship that outperforms pathogen competition.

The bacteria keep other infections at bay by producing more lactic acid, which lowers the pH to 4. A condition in which most pathogens are unable to survive.

The bokashi bran microbes may produce even more antioxidants to combat infections when necessary.

The microorganisms in bokashi can aid one another by creating the ideal environment, providing shelter for other organisms, generating waste that is eaten by other organisms, and manufacturing enzymes that others will utilize.

What's the best EM-1 to buy?

It would be best to buy an organic EM-1 bottle filled with beneficial lactic acid bacteria. The bottle should typically contain minimal ingredients such as water, molasses, and beneficial microbes.

I recommend using this EM -1 from Terraganix because Teraganix is the exclusive distributor of Dr. Higa's Effective Microorganisms Technology products in the USA and

EM-1 Inoculant from Terraganix

Canada. Their mixture contains the same blend of Effective Microorganisms that was originally used in agriculture.

Their EM-1 bottle is a superior mixture of naturally occurring non-GMO and organically certified microbes. They are undoubtedly the most reputable brand of EM-1. You don't want to risk going for another brand that might not get the job done correctly, leading to a waste of bran and equipment.

They are also affordable too. I recommend that you buy the EM-1 product directly from Amazon.

It's $29.70 with free shipping to the USA. Click here or below to get to it on Amazon.

How do I make Bokashi Bran at home?

To make Bokashi bran, you will need:

  • EM-1 (Effective Microorganisms)

  • Molasses

  • Water

  • Bran could be wheat, soy, or even a porous material like shredded paper.

  • 1 airtight container i.e. a bucket with a lid


1. Combine the EM, molasses, and water.

2. Add the liquid mixture to the bran in the bucket.

3. Mix well, the combination should be moist but not soaking. For example, you shouldn't be able to get drops of water when you squeeze it.

4. If you plan on using the bokashi for a long time, you'll need to dry it out completely. To do this, spread the mixture out on a tarp in a warm spot until it dries out completely. Don't try to put it in the oven or anything, as it will kill the living microbes.

5. If you want to use the brand sooner, within two weeks. Then let your bokashi bran mixture sit in a warm spot for two weeks.

Your bokashi bran is complete when the mixture has a vinegar, sauerkraut-type smell. It should have white mold; if it has any other mold, then it hasn't worked.


We'll release more free resources soon that dive into all things Bokashi – Thanks for reading!



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