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I am looking into one of these that I found online for about $65 plus $10 shipping.
I am going to be using the unit primarily for vegetable and fruit peels. No meat, but maybe some dairy. We don't have tons of food scraps, but sometimes PopTarts don't get finished, or cereal doesn't all get eaten.
Yes, I have two of these and I like them. I compost all kitchen scraps in them, including dairy, meats, etc. You don't really need two, but I just find it convenient to fill one and let it ferment further, while I work on filling up the second.
Jennifer, I have one Happy Farmer bucket and 6 regular 5 gallon construction buckets that I use for Bokashi Composting. Several of us have discovered that the regular 5 gallon buckets will work just as well if you either use something to soak up the liquids (newspaper in my case) or drill holes into one bucket and set it inside another to allow the juice to drain.
I put some of the finished fermented waste in the regular compost pile if my beds are fully planted out. If there is a bare space between plantings, I will bury the bokashi directly in the soil.
Good luck, Jennifer! Garden_Mermaid is right; you can easily make a homemade Bokashi bucket.
Have fun! Using those fermented scraps in the garden is really fun--the earthworms stand in line to chow down on them!! ;-)
huggergirl...I read that you keep layering your scraps and the bokashi mix in the 5-gallon bucket until the bucket is full. When the bucket is full, you set it aside for two weeks to age, then bury the foodstuff in the ground/garden. Two weeks after that, you can plant in or on that soil.
I plan to put the finished bokaski in between my plants in the garden.
If I'm wrong, somebody...anybody...please let me know.
ice_worm, you are correct. Burying the fermented bokashi in a hole or trench between or alongside your plants is one way to do it.
huggergirl, the bokashi method ferments the food waste in the bucket. When you open the bucket after the two weeks or so that you have aged it, it will look like the ingredients you put into the bucket, but covered with a white mold (think Brie cheese here) and have a pickled aroma. The worms do the rest when you bury it or add it to your compost (or worm bin). The fermentation process makes it break down faster and adds the beneficial probiotic cultures. I see a big difference in how the plants grow and produce when I have used Bokashi on them. As your soil quality improves, you will have fewer insect and disease pressures on your plants, your harvests will taste better, and they will be better for you.
mermaid & ice what about the smell and the (yuk) juice,if you use news paper for the juice ,iam assuming you layer that too??this is very interesting !!thanks Iam thinking this could be great,my tumbler is full and cooking,instead of putting material on the starter pile and putting it a bucket instead,oh my iam gonna be busy.
[quote]Several of us have discovered that the regular 5 gallon buckets will work just as well if you either use something to soak up the liquids (newspaper in my case)[/quote]
Garden-Mermaid, I'm interested in your "newspaper" method, too. Do you just layer the juice-soaked newspaper into the trench or compost bin along with the scraps?
BTW, the juice can be a bit pungent--but it's FULL of good microbes and I always feel proud to have it to fertilize with or pour down my drains (good for septic tank.)
DH thinks I am very weird.
The purpose of the two-bucket system (with the holes in the top bucket) is to allow the liquids to seep into the bottom bucket, which can then be emptied and the liquid used as a garden/soil enhancement.
I haven't actually done it yet, but I understand if Bokashi is done correctly, the smell is somewhat vinegar, and there are no bad odors.
I have one of the Happy Farmer units. Works fine. Initially, the lid took a bit extra effort to get it off the bucket, but has become easier over time.
The bucket system works well, and much cheaper.
Depending on how much waste you produce, it is very helpful to have at least 2 buckets going.
Are y'all eating enough vegetables?
I fill a 5 gallon bucket with peelings and scraps in about two weeks, sometimes less.
That's for two of us - DH and I. Every vegetable peeling, tough stems etc, any leftover bread or cheese that gets mouldy (rare occurence), the daily tea leaves etc. all go into the Bokashi bucket. So I now have four in rotation. One Happy Farmer bucket with a spigot, 3 of the 5-gallon contractors buckets. I have AEM in a spray bottle. I put a layer of dry newspaper at the bottom of the bucket, spritz with AEM. The scraps go in, get spritzed with somemore AEM, then a take a piece of dry newpaper (folded in fourths) and push the contents down to compact them, and put the lid on. Each days additions are spritzed. When I get a few inches of scraps added, I use another folded sheet of newspaper and push down to compact again. The layers of dry newspaper in between the AEM spritzed scraps seems to absorb the excess liquid. There usually isn't any Bokashi juice to drain out with this method though. I get enough from the one spigoted bucket. When we can move to a place with attached garden, I drill holes in one bucket and layer it into another to make more Bokashi juice. The litre that I harvest from the Happy Farmer bucket lasts long enough for the size of my plots.
A pungent smell is a sign that you need to add more Bokashi bran or more AEM to your mix.
Thanks, Garden_Mermaid, for the detailed explanation of how you use newspapers to absorb Bokashi juice when using regular 5-gal. buckets. Like you and your husband, DH and I fill a bucket in about two weeks. Unless I have people over for dinner--mostly my kids ;-) --and then it happens a lot sooner. I also put in meat and fish scraps, including smallish bones.
I haven't felt confident about using AEM. I HAVE a bottle, but don't know the proportions for spraying. It sounds like a lot cheaper and easier, really, than using Bokashi-bran, which is what I do.
Don't give up on the "bran" just yet if you are making your own.
I'm hoping to make some from spent coffee grounds.
My first batch went green because the rubbermaid container I was using was not air tight.
I'm going to try mixing up another batch of coffee grounds and EM culture, fermenting this in the 5 gallon buckets and then drying it out to use as "bran" in the Bokashi process. I'd rather sprinkle with the drier innoculated fibre than spraying with AEM, but my limited space makes it difficult to make up a batch of innoculated bran. If you are buying the pre- made innoculated bran, then the AEM spritz + newspaper (or coir) is much cheaper.
garden_mermaid Thank you for giving me some direction,I have been reading,looks like i wont be just filling up buckets,most definitly I will be reading more about this,I want to try this out soon. Thanks. Tamara
Tamara, the important thing is that you start working with it. There is no one "right" way to do Bokashi style composting or using EM and AEM. You will eventually figure out what works best for you. I think we have all had some bokashi failures, but these can still be tossed into the compost pile or buried in the garden. The worms will correct the mistakes.
You might lose the attention of non-gardeners when you excitedly tell them about soil microbes and your Bokashi experiences. If that happens, just come to DG. We'll happily compare notes and ideas with you. :)
[quote]You might lose the attention of non-gardeners when you excitedly tell them about soil microbes and your Bokashi experiences. [/quote]
LOL, garden-mermaid. So true. And believe it or not, even some regular gardeners among my acquaintance begin to edge away as I start waxing poetic about my fermenting scraps and how much I love my Bokashi bucket. But I notice that microbes are beginning to be COOL, so maybe the times they are achangin'.
I talked to a couple master gardeners at the County Fair last year, and they'd never heard of it. I tried explaining it, but don't know if I did a good enough job. I don't like that pickled smell, but love the results.
[quote]I talked to a couple master gardeners at the County Fair last year, and they'd never heard of it.[/quote]
Mary, I have had the same experience. In fact, I am the only gardener around here who has even heard of it, at least in my area. Even the folks at my local nurseries don't know anything about it. Why is this? Maybe because they don't check into the Soil and Composting forum on DG? That's where I read about the process more than a year ago. And the rest . . . is history ;-)