This is an interesting article about compost. Only serious gardeners might find this worth reading, hence why I posted it on the UBC Fermenting organic matter better for soil health than composting - Farmers Weekly

I found this study very interesting, but one thing I don't understand is how they established that the bokashi was "done"? How is their completed bokashi any different than just merely unfinished compost? For instance the parameters they give for finished bokashi include higher carbon, higher nitrogen, higher carbon:nitrogen ratio, higher weight, higher volume, etc. All of these parameters match simple unfinished compost, don't they? There are solid reasons we don't use unfinished compost, and I'm struggling to see evidence here that is not simply what they created.

Agreed Tom, but I believe it is all down to the wrapping process, as is done for haylage. To put it simply, it cooks better. That has been my take on it. Whether it is any use for the garden compared to the farm, which is on a very large scale, who knows at this time. I am looking forward to the follow up article next year to see the results to see if there are any benefits to be gained with this process. I found it interesting as well !!!

I sure agree they are making the claim it cooks "better", but I just don't see any evidence as to why they can say that. From the parameters they give it looks like just plain partially-cooked compost, and we all know that is not better than aged or well-cooked compost.

I see your point absolutely Tom. Perhaps it is someone reinventing the wheel !!!! I Will post an update on here when more results are forthcoming.

Hi @Dr. Green Thumb , my take on it is from what has been said in the article. Mathematically the numbers show the difference. But perhaps you are seeing something different in the article. Please do explain? In addition, the bokashi had a higher carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, at 19:5 compared with 10:1– an important indicator for soil organic matter content and fertility.

Hmm. I also don't get the math. 19:5 is 3.8:1 carbon to nitrogen, which is lower than 10:1 carbon to nitrogen. Am I looking at it wrong?

I think you have both found an anomaly in the science, or are we all looking at this wrong. I have looked for an update on the article but at this time cannot find one. I will continue to search.

The one thing I have just found on the latest on Bokashi is this..... The literature produced by Bokashi companies is rather vague on this point. So I think this is thread will have to be updated when more reliable info is written. Any input by any member with more information on the subject will be very interesting to read.

When you consider that the highest possible ratio is 1:1, it makes sense that 19:5 (3.8:1) is a higher ratio compared to 10:1. This means that there is less carbon per unit of nitrogen in the bokashi method of composting. I too would like to learn more about this alternative to traditional composting methods. For example, I wonder if this comment I read on a bokashi website might be true: " . . . waste does not actually decompose during bokashi. Once bokashi-fermented waste is added to the soil, it decomposes (ie composts), producing CO2 just like the food would have if composted from the start."

Margot, thank you for your response. I’m afraid that I’m still just not getting it. Perhaps if you could direct me to an online resource, I could get on the same page. My confusion is 1:1 is 50% C 50% N, I would think 2:1 or 67% C 33% N would be a higher C to N ratio, not a lower one. Also, how can 1:1 (50% C) be the highest possible amount of C relative to N? Again, thank you.

I agree that ratios can be difficult to figure out. I think it is the terms ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ are what make them confusing. It helps to think of some examples. If you have one apple and one orange, the ratio of apples to oranges is 1:1, the highest possible of one thing to another. If, instead, there were 1000 apples and 1 orange, the proportion would be 1000:1 – a lower ratio because the oranges are vastly outnumbered. In other words, there aren’t many oranges – only one in fact – which is low compared to all the apples. It is only the ratio that is high or low, not the absolute quantity of the variables being compared. Ratios are useful in determining how much or many of one component there may be as long as you know how much or many of the other you have. With a 1:1 ratio, you can determine that for every 10 apples, there will be 10 oranges, etc. It seems to me that deciding whether ratios are high or low is most useful when comparing number of things in different situations like the ratio of students to teachers in one school compared to another. It's really quite arbitrary. Getting back to our compost/ bokashi ratios, knowing that there a 10:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen in regular compost allows us to calculate that for every 10 units of carbon, there will be only 1 of nitrogen. That’s a fairly low ratio (not much N compared to the C) regardless of how much compost you’re talking about. Likewise, a ratio of 3.8:1 for bokashi tells us that this is a higher ratio; almost 4 times as much C for each unit of N. I hope this helps. Try searching ‘how to read ratios’ or similar phrases to find more online.

Margot, I'm sorry you have a huge error in there. It might help instead of saying things vaguely like 'the ratio is low', instead be more specific like 'the ratio of apples to oranges is low'. The reason is that you started out from the perspective of the apples (which is correct, ratios "low" or "high" always come from the perspective of the first term, apples in this case), but then halfway thru you switch over to the perspective of the oranges: "aren’t many oranges – only one in fact – which is low compared to all the apples". Do you see how you switched from apples:oranges to oranges:apples? That's just not how ratios work. For instance your example of students & teachers. It's commonly given as student:teachers, so if you want to call the ratio low or high, you have to always do it from the perspective of the student for this ratio (a low student:teacher ratio is good for learning). Or if you wanted to use it flipped as teachers:students, then it must always be from the perspective of the teacher first (a high teacher:student ratio is good for learning). It's always the first term, you can's switch to the second term's perspective like you did above. 3.8:1 is always a lower ratio of carbon:nitrogen than 10:1 carbon:nitrogen. There is lower amount of carbon at 3.8:1. You cannot switch to the perspective of the nitrogen unless you change it to nitrogen:carbon. [Comment removed by moderator]

@Tom Hulse @Margot @Dr. Green Thumb, this is something I didn't expect to happen in the discussions about 'compost a new way'. But I have to say I am fascinated by all your thoughts on this. I am contuing my search to find a definitive answer to the question of the ratio's that were shown in the article. Bravo to the three of you.

I just found this link that does not talk about ratios and perhaps that is best. We gardeners do like to experiment with new ways to make our little patch better. Sometimes the science can and will be challenged, with differing opinions and results, and oh how often the results are interpreted differently. A Beginner's Guide to Bokashi Composting | Polytunnel Gardening I'm still searching BTW.