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Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

Posted by randipants none (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 13:37

I'm having a very hard time finding reliable info on this, so any help will be much appreciated.

I've been trying out bokashi composting for the last 2 months or so. I have a tumbler I've been using for most of my fruit/veg scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, paper, cardboard, etc. I've been using the bokashi for meat, dairy, meal leftovers and any fruit/veg cooked with meat or fat. Three times now I've gotten partway through filling the bin before it started to grow green mold (like what you'd see growing on bread) as well as white.

The first time it happened, I tried searching for info and what I found said to throw everything in the bin away and start over, which I did. And I did it the next time. Both times I noticed the green mold shortly after adding pasta, so I kept pasta out of it this time. I've cleaned the bin thoroughly between each attempt. Today I see green mold on top of the white again. I know there are some bread crumbs and maybe pizza crust in there, so maybe it's a problem with grains in general?

Since this keeps happening, today I'm trying to find more info on just what could be causing it and whether it's really so bad after all but every time I try different search terms I get different advice - green and black mold are bad but white is good, if you find green mold get rid of everything, if you find green mold just add what you have to your tumbler or bury it, some people are describing successful bokashi bins with blue and red mold on them, and plenty of sites don't even seem to talk about what can go wrong with bokashi or whether it should grow mold in the first place....

So, I need some help! Any bokashi experts out there? Anyone know enough about white/green/black/blue/red mold to educate me a bit?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

I am not a Bokashi expert but just wanted to say, I would not recommend wasting half-done compost because it had mold of any kind in it. I would bury it or add to another compost pile if there is one available. Not much can happen to compost that actually makes it unusable.

Sorry I can't help you with the more pressing question of what colors of mold are OK in the Bokashi environment.

RE: Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

The whole idea of adding sugar(a valuable food substance) to any kind of compost is really annoying to me. Bokashi to me is just another kind of compost variation that was wasteful and tries to be different from and better than traditional compost but failed. Adding sugar to compost just defeat the purpose of making compost in the first place, if not stupid.

RE: Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

Are you trying to make Bokashi in your tumbler or adding fermented Bokashi to the raw ingredients in your tumbler?

I would not do either. I have made a huge batch of newspaper Bokashi media this year, and made about six Bokashi buckets. Some I put in the veg. garden area. Some I put into a large compost bin.

To repeat, I would not add Bokashi material to any pile/tumbler/composting system that you expect to get hot.

I am not clear as to what your method and final intent is.

RE: Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

ceth, I agree with you to an extent. Bokashi does have special characteristics that make it a potentially valuable method. It is one of very few methods that make it possible to do it indoors without odors. That's a redeeming factor in my book (although I haven't tried it). There are millions of apartment dwellers who could divert food waste this way. The pros and cons and overall life cycle cost/benefit are open to discussion but it does have its benefits.

To the OP, there are spores everywhere, so if you're doing this in an outdoor tumbler, there is no way on Earth to limit it to only the microbes you put in.

RE: Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

Randi, you are going to have to provide more info if you wish for advice.

Step 1 -- making serum out of rice wash or other material.
Step 2 -- Purifying serum
Step 3 -- Moving serum to media (in my case newspaper.) Drying media when done.

Step 4 -- Making a bokashi bucket with your material (such as fruit and veggie wastes) and your bokashi serum laden material (in my case the serum newspaper). After two weeks you have completed bokashi.

Step 5 -- Put bokashi material to work in your garden. You might add bokashi to a compost pile, but it should be a cold pile.

Some folks buy bokashi laden media and skip the first three steps.

At what point are you finding molds you are worried about? When the bucket is done, the bucket should have a smell close to cider vinegar.

RE: Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

  • Posted by bmchan z5 central MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 22, 12 at 9:59

Bokashi composting requires two elements that I don't see in the OP:

1) The process is anerobic - no oxygen.
2) You need to drain the liquid during the composting period without exposing it to oxygen

When you said you were using a "bin" it made me think that the container is not airtight (gasket seal) and you are not draining the liquid. See the link provided for an inexpensive container system with sealed lids and drains. You can buy the food container buckets for $4 at Lowes and the spigot drain at a beer supply store. The lids are available online.

Also - what are you using for effective microorganisms?

Here is a link that might be useful: Bokashi bucket

RE: Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

  • Posted by bmchan z5 central MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 22, 12 at 10:11

@ceth - bokashi composting is an ancient practice that the west has only recently discovered. The process is fermentation not composting as we know it. Once fermented, the material is added to traditional composting methods (or just buried) where it rapidly breaks down.

RE: Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

It has been a while since this question was asked but, have some answers that may help for anyone checking this thread.
I'm on my 6th bucket of bokashi and have learned a lot. Also I've had green mold form on the top of my bokashi bucket during fermenting process. The whole bucket had the white good fungus and the top had purified with green mold. My mistake was that I'd covered the top layer with dry cardboard and no bokashi on it. It was the cardboard layer that had the green mold on. The cardboard had gotten wet during the fermenting and was exposed to oxygen. My solution has been to put plastic bags on top of the compost during collecting and fermenting. Press the plastic bag up close to edges and make sure you compress the compost.
Also you mention that you're putting your veggies into regular compost and in the bokashi mostly meat, dairy and cooked food with meat or oils in. This is definitely a mistake as bokashi needs to be mostly veggies with some chopped meat and dairy.

RE: Bokashi Help - Green Mold?

I love bukake.

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