13 March 2013

bokashi--part 1

Growing up in a family that composts, I feel a sense of guilt every time I throw away food at home.  Of course when you live in an apartment or a rental property, your options for compost are limited.  I had assumed that I would not do any composting until I owned a house and could lay out my own garden plan.  However a few months ago I looked at our waste and realized that a majority of it was food waste(!) so I decided to research my options.

The scheme that I found which would work best for my family's situation is the bokashi bucket.  This is not the stinky, hot composting you might be used to...it's a fermentation process.  This small bucket collects all your food waste, requiring little upkeep, then the contents get buried in your garden once the bucket is full.  It will take me a couple posts to relay all the info, but the super short conclusion is that I'm really happy with this system.  It's basically composting for the lazy.  The bucket can sit right there in the kitchen, collecting everything, and you barely have to do anything to keep it all running smoothly.

I was able to find a start up system at Bunnings Warehouse.  You need the bucket with its spigot at the bottom, a cup for draining the juice, and some active bokashi micro-organisms which come as either a spray or as granules.  We got it set up in a few minutes and started collecting food scraps.  This was my main selling point for this system--you can put ANY food in it.  Meat, citrus, cooked food, bread, whatever!  This is perfect for our family since we have two little ones that don't always finish their meals.

Upkeep consists of adding the micro-organisms after you add food, possibly squashing the contents down as the bucket fills, and draining the bokashi juice.  The juice doesn't start accumulating until a week or so after you've started using the bucket, but then it builds up every day.  When the bucket is full you bury the contents in the soil.  Honestly when you go to dig that hole in the garden, it feels like a leap of faith.  At that point the food doesn't look like it has done much to start on the breakdown process, but it all works!  The next post will have some photos to show what I'm talking about.

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