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Soil and Composting: Does anyone have a "Happy Farmerô Bokashi Composter"?

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 31, Views: 208
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jlp222
Hammond, LA
(Zone 8b)

April 8, 2009
4:22 AM

Post #6380796

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.

Thanks for any input. Jennifer
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

April 8, 2009
2:24 PM

Post #6381811

Hi Jennifer:
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.
jlp222
Hammond, LA
(Zone 8b)

April 8, 2009
10:28 PM

Post #6383699

Thanks for the reply. Do you put the "output" directly into the soil?
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 9, 2009
1:20 AM

Post #6384403

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.
jlp222
Hammond, LA
(Zone 8b)

April 9, 2009
1:31 AM

Post #6384444

Awesome, thanks. I want to check into all of my options before I make an investment. I am also considering Vermicomposting.

Thank you for your responses.
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

April 9, 2009
4:14 PM

Post #6386698

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!! ;-)
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 9, 2009
5:52 PM

Post #6387314

And if you expose any of the earthworms when you dig the hole to bury the Bokashi, they will race across the soil to get to it. I never knew a worm could move so fast!
jlp222
Hammond, LA
(Zone 8b)

April 9, 2009
6:56 PM

Post #6387610

That sounds awesome! Thanks guys : )
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 9, 2009
8:38 PM

Post #6388041

wow,i now am very curious about this bokashi,i have a compost tumbler and it works great,but bokashi,how long does it take to ferment a 5 gal. bucket ??? thanks
ice_worm
Palmer, AK
(Zone 2a)

April 9, 2009
9:06 PM

Post #6388155

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.

:)
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 9, 2009
11:00 PM

Post #6388586

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.
ice_worm
Palmer, AK
(Zone 2a)

April 10, 2009
12:10 AM

Post #6388913

Thanks Garden_Mermaid. :)

I would like to add...I hope to buy a Happy Farmer kit one of these days. If I order on-line, the cheapest I can find is $59.39 (great price!) plus $38.69 for shipping. Not so great.

SO FAR I don't want the kit badly enough to pay that much for shipping.

I will do the home-made 5-gallon bucket route and see what happens.

But I really like looks of the the Happy Farmer.
ice_worm
Palmer, AK
(Zone 2a)

April 10, 2009
12:11 AM

Post #6388920

Oh, JLP...Here's the link I was looking at, in case you can get a better price:

http://www.mightymicrobes.com/
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 10, 2009
10:49 AM

Post #6390370

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.

This message was edited Apr 10, 2009 7:28 AM
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

April 10, 2009
1:52 PM

Post #6390817

[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.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 10, 2009
2:09 PM

Post #6390901

Iam definitly going to give this a go,oh what about cooked food ???
ice_worm
Palmer, AK
(Zone 2a)

April 10, 2009
4:42 PM

Post #6391538

...what about the smell and the (yuk) juice?

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.

Katye
Sammamish, WA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:27 PM

Post #6391738

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.

hugger: Cooked food is a thumbs up.

garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 10, 2009
7:17 PM

Post #6392134

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.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 10, 2009
8:12 PM

Post #6392342

mermaid,sooo whats bokashi bran and aem,sorry iam a newbie !
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 10, 2009
9:07 PM

Post #6392574

huggergirl, your "homework" assignment is to read the threads listed under Bokashi in the sticky at the top of this forum. ^_^

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/957317/
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

April 10, 2009
11:48 PM

Post #6393207

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.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 11, 2009
1:35 AM

Post #6393634

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.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 11, 2009
12:07 PM

Post #6394825

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
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 11, 2009
6:50 PM

Post #6396215

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.
ice_worm
Palmer, AK
(Zone 2a)

April 11, 2009
11:48 PM

Post #6397152

That's what I'm thinking. I believe there is a wide range of what is "acceptable," and I think the Bokashi method must be pretty forgiving.

And we know that whatever organics we put in the soil will end up being good.

It seems to me that it's a "can't lose" situation. :)

garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 12, 2009
2:30 AM

Post #6397814

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. :)
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

April 13, 2009
12:32 AM

Post #6401106

[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'.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 13, 2009
10:22 AM

Post #6402522

Heck,all that dirty talk ,is making me restless,cant wait to get me a bucket full !!! LOL
mpabbott1
(Mary) Poway, CA
(Zone 10a)

April 19, 2009
5:16 AM

Post #6430815

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.
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

April 19, 2009
11:24 PM

Post #6433914

[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 ;-)
mpabbott1
(Mary) Poway, CA
(Zone 10a)

April 20, 2009
3:11 AM

Post #6435082

There's a lot of things I wouldn't know about if I hadn't found Dave's Garden. A fortunate accident for me. Amazing place, and amazing people!

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