If you thought my idea for an aquarium aquaponics system was cool, you HAVE to check this video out! Patti ‘The Garden Girl’ Moreno has devised and set up an awesome home aquaponics system – and one with a LOT more potential for growing crops than mine! I love the idea of using heavy duty metal shelving to hold the system – I think a unit like that would come in hand for a variety of different growing/composting projects!
Just thought I would post a quick update today. My bucket is pretty well jammed to the top so I’ve added a healthy amount of bokashi over the top, sealed it back up and will now let it brew for a couple of weeks before testing it out as worm food. I’m going to be starting up a second bucket very soon as well.
So far I’ve been really impressed with this ‘composting’ method. Making the bokashi mix itself did take some time and effort, but the actual process of filling up my bucket has been unbelievably easy and convenient. Best of all I’ve been able to jam a LOT of material into my bucket without any resulting bad odours. If I was aging wastes in a bucket in preparation to feed my worms (something I often will do), I would definitely need to make sure I mixed in lots of absorbent cardboard in order to prevent bad smells from being generated. My worm composting itself never creates foul odours, but I can at times be limited in terms of the amount of waste I can add at one time (although not really an issue these days since I have multiple bins to feed) – this is never an issue with a bokashi bucket. As long as you have other buckets to use, and more dry bokashi mix you can add waste till the cows come home (and then you can add some manure while you’re at it – haha).
I had a funny experience with it yesterday. I walked into my work room (down in the basement) and could smell a strong smell of decaying waste. It wasn’t terrible, but it was quite obvious. I thought for sure that my bokashi bucket was starting to stink!
As it turned out, it was a bag of semi-aged food waste that I had put down there in preparation for adding it to the bucket! When I opened up the bucket to make sure, I was greeted by the usual sweet bokashi odour and nothing more.
I’m pretty sure bokashi is going to remain an important part of my overall household waste management plan. But we’ll see what the worms have to say about that before I jump to any conclusions!
As I mentioned in another aquaponics post, I am planning to put together my own small aquaponics system for fun, and of course to see if I can get it to work properly. I’ve always been fascinated with both hydroponics and aquatic biology – among numerous other related topics – so it’s only natural (no pun intended – haha) that I would gravitate towards aquaponics.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, aquaponics is simply a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. Water is pumped from fish tanks to grow beds where plants (typically some sort of edible produce) take advantage of the nutrient rich water. The plants and gravel (or whatever growth media you use) serve to filter the water before it eventually ends up back in the fish tanks. Alternatively, you can also grow plants directly in the fish tanks using floating rafts of some sort.
For my experimental system I will simply be periodically pumping water from a small aquarium into a homemade grow bed, then allowing it to drain back into the fish tank – something similar to my ‘artist’s rendtion’ up above.
I’m going to make the grow bed using some PVC piping and some basic hydroponics supplies, namely small grow baskets and gravel. I’ll cut holes specifically sized for the baskets so that they can sit snugly in place.
I have ordered some small submersible pumps and tubing so I’ll be able to pump the water up to the grow bed. I have also been growing basil seedlings in preparation for setting this sytem up. We love fresh basil (and pay a decent amount in order to have a constant supply on-hand in the winter), so it seemed like a natural choice. It is also a good choice since it relies mostly on vegetative growth, unlike a crop like tomatoes which would be more complicated due to flowering requirements etc.
Anyway, I think its going to be a lot of fun! Hopefully I’ll be able to create what I have in my head – or at least something similar. I’m not known for my DIY skills, so this will be good practice.
As per usual, I will keep everyone posted on my progress!
Earlier this week I posted a video showing how I set up my new bokashi bucket. I just thought I would post a quick update today.
So far so good – I’ve been really happy with the system! It is very easy to use and there are still no bad odours when I open up the lid. I’ve seen some white fungal growth on the materials, but thats about it as far as visual indication of decomposition starting to occur.
This experiment has made me realize that we produce a LOT of food waste! I’ve already filled the bucket up past the half way mark, even though I’ve been pressing down the materials! (the photo to the right was taken prior to my latest addition of waste)
I’ve also decided to really put it to the test by adding materials I would never add to a worm bin or regular composter. Last night I made a special ‘surf n’ turf’ dinner for Valentines and thus ended up with some shrimp and steak scraps (along with some oily food wastes that also wouldn’t have been put in my worm bins). I thought it might be fun to try them out in the bokashi bucket since I’ve read that its ok to add meats etc. I just opened up the bucket a few minutes ago and the odour is still pleasant so thats really cool! There certainly wouldn’t be pleasant odours coming from my trash can today had I thrown them in there!
Anyway, thats all for now. I will certainly keep you updated on my progress with the bucket.
Like last year, February seems like it is really going to be the ‘make it or break it’ month for me (as you may recall, last year I was broken). During this past week we’ve seen some brutally cold weather and a lot of snow fall. I made sure to pile the snow high on the bin when I heard about the cold weather coming through, and another big dump of snow last night has left my bin almost entirely buried.
I decided to shoot a short video (see below) this morning just to give you a quick 180 degree tour of the bin. Pictures certainly help, but still shots will never hold a candle to video in terms of providing viewers with the complete picture.
I’m still trying to figure out how to make videos that don’t end up pixelated (the originals look great), so please bear with me here.
I will definitely make some more featuring the winter bin – specifically, some showing the inside of the bin once I open it up again.
Speaking of which, as mentioned in the video, it has been a number of days since I last looked inside. When I last took temperature readings it looked as though the warmest regions were somewhat lower than 10 deg C (50 F), so I may be in a bit of trouble! Hopefully not, but we shall see.
Anyway, I will definitely provide another update once I clear all the snow off and have a look inside.
Apologies for the lack of post lately! I decided to make it up to you (or make it worse – haha) by making a video showing the setting up of my bokashi bucket. You may need to fiddle with it a bit (refresh etc) – I had a little trouble getting it to run smoothly for me when I first tried it out.
I discovered this weekend that our digital camera actually has decent video capabilities (not really illustrated by my grainy YouTube video however). That in itself is pretty exciting! I think there will be a lot more Compost Guy and Red Worm Composting videos coming your way (my previous Power Point videos took forever to make).
The bokashi I made last month dried out nicely for me so today seemed like as good a day as any to finally get started! Luckily I just happened to have a decent amount of food waste ready to be put somewhere (plenty of space in the worm bins, but the worms can wait – they’ll get their bokashi treat later! haha).
I’m planning to head back to the Bulk Barn this week to get more supplies for more bokashi making. Hopefully my dried material will last until the second batch is ready to go!
Anyway, thats all for now! I’m hoping to get more posts up this week than last (not a major challenge! haha).
With a name like that how can you resist watching the video??
All joking aside, I love seeing how people have used their ingenuity to come up with cool tools/machines in an effort to live more sustainably. Given the fact that I’m not very handy myself, it’s fun to live vicariously through these sorts of DIY wizards every once in awhile!
This contraption looks a little scary (kept expecting to see him taken out by a flying piece of kitchen waste), but effective nevertheless!
Finally decided to get my rear in gear today with the bokashi experiment. It has been almost 1 month since I made my bokashi mix, so it’s definitely time to take the next step – drying out the bokashi!
I was quite worried about this stage to be totally honest. I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as smell goes, nor was I sure where I might spread out this mixture so as not to offend my wife or attract the attention of my curious cats. I ended up finding a solution I’m very happy with. I just happened to have some decent sized pieces of press-board that were left behind by the previous owner of the house. I’ve been meaning to throw a bunch of this stuff out, but I’m really glad I’ve found a great use for it!
I put a garbage bag down on top of it then dumped out the contents of my ziploc bags. Next I spread the material out as evenly (and as far out) as possible to help with the drying process. I then moved some tubs from the top shelf of a free-standing shelving unit I have in my basement, and placed the tray on top. Aside from being out of the way, this location has the added advantage of being quite close to a ceiling air vent so that should really help speed up the drying time. I felt the material a few minutes ago (only a couple hours after spreading it out) and was amazed by how dry it is already, although I will certainly need to continue moving it around so that the lower materials are able to dry as well.
Now on to the smell…
Yeah, it is certainly strong! I won’t say it is an overly unpleasant odour – it is actually quite a sweet scent, but almost sickly sweet. I’ll certainly be able to tolerate it, and my fingers are crossed that my wife won’t mind either (she works out in the basement, so we shall see!).
I’m actually REALLY happy I made the quantity I did – it has worked out to be the perfect amount in every way and should still provide me with enough to last a decent amount of time (hopefully long enough for me to create another batch).
Anyway, thats all for now. Shouldn’t be too long now before I’m able to start creating a bokashi bucket!