We've been composting our kitchen scraps in bokashi buckets for just about nine months, now. Putting the stuff in the bin, adding the bokashi bran, and draining off the tea have all been ridiculously easy. My garden loves the cured material. My earthworms are fat and happy. And the kids' garden produced massive tomatoes, peas, green beans, carrots and corn.
I dug the last bin of fermented table scraps into the raised bed yesterday afternoon. My Monday crew tore around in the yard, with their snow-pants, shovels and buckets. They came over periodically to chat with me about "giving food to the garden", to monitor the size of the "food hole" and to compliment my "HUGE muscles". The kids were disappointed that all of the worms were, ahem, hiding from the cold. Then they trundled off to shape carrots out of sticky snow. Which quickly turned into towers for snow castles. Or at least, the ones that survived The Giant's assault did...
Yes, people. My job really is that awesome.
The soil around my house is horrible. We have nutrient sucking conifers all around, lots and lots of clay, and we inherited forty solid years of chemical fertilizer and pesticide use that decimated our beneficial bug population. Boo to that! We've had a rotating drum composter for six years, but it could not keep up with the volume of scraps our busy house produces. And the compost and compost tea didn't seem to be doing all that much for our garden. Also, my experiment of storing our fresh compostibles in a rubbermaid tub to be turned into the bin after the thaw?
Messy. Very, very messy. And stinky. And gross.
So, bokashi was the solution. The buckets fit neatly under my kitchen counter. The tea makes for very happy plants. And (especially compared to the aforementioned Rotted Slop) is remarkably stench and mess free!
Last winter, I just kept adding the finished bokashi material into our drum composter until it was full, then stored the rest of it in plastic tubs in the garage.
Win: Fat, happy vegetables, as referred to above.
Loss: Wet bokashi mixed in with Rotted Slop, aerated in the rotating drum composter, and draining into a never-cleaned tea-collector makes for a noticeably, erm, unfortunate smelling back yard. Like, the kind of odour that even the most gracious of guests can't pretend not to notice. That makes a homeowner wonder if one of our neighbourhood bunnies moved on to the big clover patch in the sky... under our deck.
The summer solution was mixing in a good amount of shredded paper, dumping and rinsing out the drum composter's tea collector (barf!), and leaving the lid open to allow happy bugs and sunshine to do their jobs. Win!
The winter solution?
We're going to store the fermented bokashi material in tubs in the garage, and then turn it into our garden beds in the spring. No wading through the drifts with a shovel to try to find the drum composter in the snow. No comic adventures finding my way back to the house with boots and snowpants packed full of ice. No Rotted Slop in the springtime.
And after the thaw? My kids and my crew get TWO MORE garden beds in which to grow their fat Nantes carrots and stringless sugar snap peas. And maybe there will be room for me to plant some radishes, and salad greens, and turnips, and make pole-bean teepees....
Only six months 'til spring!
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