My large outdoor worm bin as it appeared the day I built it
I’ve been meaning to write about the topic of ‘building a compost bin’, and a post on someone else’s blog (which I’ll chat about in a minute) today inspired me to at least get the ball rolling. Understandably, this is a topic that a fair number of would-be composters are interested in – while there are certainly lots of fantastic composting systems on the market these days, a lot of them are relatively expensive! I’m hoping to show everyone that you don’t have to be a carpenter or need to take out a second mortgage on your home in order to end up with a nice composter in your yard. As you might guess (based on the “part I” bit), this is going to be an ongoing series here on the blog since there are plenty of different options out there and I want to given the topic the attention it deserves.
In my opinion, the ultimate DIY composter is one that you build with used/recycled materials – not only will this save you a lot of money, but it’s obviously more environmentally responsible as well. The homemade compost bin idea I came across today is a perfect example of how you can make a really nifty composter using scrap lumber – in this case, shipping skids. Truth be told, they actually purchased their skids, but I’m sure you could also find some used ones relatively easily.
I’ve actually been trying to think of different ways to use skids in this manner, but I didn’t get very far with it so I’m happy to learn from those who have!
Without further ado, here is a link to the post in question: DIY Compost Bin
I highly recommend you check it out if you are looking for a very easy homemade composter design – they’ve also included some great photos. The authors claim they ‘aren’t even remotely handy’ so that has me feeling good about my chances of being able to build one of these – something I definitely want to do!
Anyway, I’ll leave it at that for now. In my next installment I’ll chat about the compost bin I somehow managed to build myself (pictured above) a couple summers ago.
[tags]diy, do it yourself, homemade composter, homemade compost bin, wood pallets, make a compost bin, making a compost bin[/tags]
On the weekend I posted a video featuring a cool home made compost tumbler. As it turns out, there is another excellent YouTube video featuring a do it yourself tumbler – but this one gets into much more detail, essentially providing you with the full plans for how to build one in your backyard.
The creators of the video are known as the ‘Urban Homesteaders’ and they have a number of other quality videos. Here is a blurb from their YouTube homepage:
The Urban Homesteaders live in Rochester, New York, in an area called The South Wedge.
They love the earth. They love their family. They love their neighborhood.
Most days, you can find them at home, trying to dream up solutions to life’s problems. Ocasionally you’ll catch one hugging a tree in Highland park, with their chocolate lab, Veruca, nearby.
Some may wonder why I haven’t written much about compost tumblers here thus far. Truth be told, I’ve actually been pretty skeptical when it comes to this type of composting system. To me they just seemed like over-hyped, overly-expensive toys that didn’t really do anything extra special to enhance the composting process.
I’m still definitely skeptical re: some of the claims (like being able to make compost in days rather than months), but I’m starting to come around. I know from firsthand experience (university research study) that large scale in-vessel, rotating systems can indeed speed up composting times over regular static systems, but I also know that the material I produced in two weeks was NOT finished compost (it was certainly on it’s way to getting there though).
As mentioned in the other compost tumbler video post, I’d love to have a smaller tumbler where I can put wastes designated for my various worm composting systems. Not only would it be a handy temporary storage container, but it would also (obviously) be a great way to mix everything up really well.
Some may wonder if you could actually put worms in a compost tumbler. This isn’t something I would recommend, unless of course you don’t plan on turning it at all (haha). The activities of the worms helps to mix and aerate the materials in a vermicomposting system, thus no manual turning or mixing is required. Aside from this, worms don’t really appreciate being tossed around all that much!
I may actually try to put together my own compost turning system this summer – just need to find myself a mini barrel. Either way, I’ll certainly be writing more about compost tumblers in general in coming weeks and months!
An e-mail question from one of my readers yesterday reminded me that it might not be a bad idea to write a quick post about the difference between ‘batch’ and ‘continuous’ composting.
A continuous composting system is one that receives waste materials on an ongoing basis – but not necessarily according to a specific schedule. This is typically the most common and easiest form of composting for the average home owner. You simply start up a compost heap or bin and add your waste materials to it as they become available.
Apart from ‘average joe’ backyard composting, another prime example of this approach is vermicomposting. Technically, you could create a batch vermicomposting system, but if you add too much waste at once there is a good chance the materials will generate too much heat for the worms, among other potential hazards.
One of the major advantages of continuous composting, particularly in the case of vermicomposting, is that you are not limited by scale – your system can be as small or large as you want it to be. As such, you can more easily compost indoors, and utilize waste materials right away, rather than stockpiling them until you have enough for batch composting.
The downside however is that you are essentially mixing fresh materials with those that have already been composted – so it can be more of a chore to separate out the ‘good stuff’. If you are composting with worms, this can be accomplished quite easily by using some sort of ‘continuous flow’ system. Such a system relies on the fact that composting worms will generally move away from their own wastes (worm castings) in the direction of the most recently added waste materials. In stackable bins like the “Worm Chalet” for example, the movement is upwards, whereas in a ‘wedge system’ (moving windrow) movement occurs laterally.
Batch composting simply involves mixing ALL your materials together at once then letting everything sit without adding more materials (aside from water), until it becomes compost. This approach is most applicable on a larger scale, and almost always will involve some variation of ‘hot composting’.
One of the main advantages of this approach is that all materials in the system will finish composting around the same time and there will be no contamination from newer materials. This approach is also very handy when you need to deal with large quantities of waste (whether at one particular time or on an ongoing basis). In comparison to vermicomposting systems, using a batch approach saves a lot of space as well (since materials can simply be mounded upwards) – thus more waste can be composted per given unit of area.
One disadvantage of this approach is the fact that you need to stockpile waste materials until you have enough for the next batch – obviously not a big deal if you do have a sizable waste stream at your disposal, but a little more inconvenient if it takes you awhile to obtain enough for a decent sized compost heap. You also generally need to pay more attention to the C:N ratio and overall properties of the materials in your mixture, proportioning them more carefully so as to obtain the results you desire.
So which one of these approaches is better?
It totally depends on what you are trying to accomplish and how much waste material you can get a hold of. I like continuous composting because it is so easily adapted to different situations, and because I don’t have a massive amount of waste to deal with (and even if I did, I’d likely just set up more worm composting systems).
By the way, there is no reason you can’t combine the two approaches. ‘Pre-composting’ large quantities of material before adding them to a vermicomposting system is actually a great way to speed up the composting process, while also getting rid of weed seeds (and possibly pathogens) – so it’s a ‘win win’ situation!
Now that yard and garden season is here again, I’m sure many people are interested in getting their backyard compost bins and heaps up and running once more. If you piled up lots of organic matter in the fall you may be surprised to find that it has broken down a fair bit during the winter. This material can be used as a great mulch for your gardens, or can simply be combined with new material and turned into really nice compost.
If you are fairly casual with your composting efforts – not overly concerned with the speed of the process or amounts of material produced – simply starting to add kitchen scraps to your bin once again may be just fine for you. If on the other hand you are keen to really kick your composting activities into overdrive so that you can produce lots a compost for your garden, then more effort (and attention to detail) will likely be required.
The first thing you’ll obviously want to do is open up your system and have a look so you can get a feel for what you are working with. Better yet, remove the composter entirely (assuming you even use one) so that you can really get a good look at any materials that may be left over in the bin. What’s there? Is it dry or wet? How does it smell? Is there a lot of bulky plants materials (perhaps woody waste)?
These are the sorts of questions to keep in mind as you scope out the situation.
I’d recommend that you start by chopping up as much of the bulky/woody materials as you can – the more surface area you create for decomposers, the more quickly this stuff is going to break down. Next assess the water-holding capacity of your current mix – if you have lots of dried up leaves and debris and little in the way of humus (the dark, earthy smelling stuff) you should add some materials that will help maintain moisture levels in the system (something that is very important). Something like coconut coir is an excellent choice since it can absorb a lot of water and is more environmentally responsible than peat moss. The downside is that it can be somewhat expensive. Shredded cardboard is a free alternative, and while it can’t hold as much water as coir, it has the added bonus of improving air flow in the bin (it acts as a bulking agent). Some other great materials to consider are finished compost, well-aged manure, or partially decomposed straw or leaves.
Next you need to add some new materials to your system. Hopefully you will either A) Have some yard wastes (such as fall leaves) left over from last year, or B) Have some materials from spring clean up to add to your compost bin. Raking the thatch (dead grass) and leftover leaves out of your lawn can be an easy way to get yourself a decent amount of excellent composting fodder. Weeding your gardens and/or cutting the lawn should provide you with some nice green wastes as well. Even if you use a mulching mower, why not just use the bag for the first cut of the year? Grass clippings, if mixed well with the rest of your materials will provide you with a nice boost of nitrogen and will definitely help to get your heap ‘a’ hoppin!
Kitchen waste is another valuable ‘green’ waste and should help to keep your heap moist as well. As is the case with the grass clippings, just make sure you spread these materials out – too much in one area will likely just create a smelly anaerobic mess.
Once your materials are mixed (better yet, while you are mixing them) use a watering can to add some water to the mix. You don’t need to totally soak everything – keep in mind the often-cited “damp sponge” recommendation. If you are adding (or have already) composting worms you might want to add a little more water since they will help to move/aerate everything and they also really love wet conditions.
Speaking of composting worms, I do highly recommend adding some ‘Red Wiggler’ worms (Eisenia fetida) to your system if you are looking for a way to speed up the composting process in a typical backyard composter. The compost they help you produce is outstanding stuff for your garden and can actually provide major benefits in much smaller amounts that most ‘regular’ composts. One thing to keep in mind though – don’t bother adding them if you are making a giant hot composting heap, since you’ll just end up killing them or at least forcing them to evacuate the system. Worm composting is better as a ‘continuous’ process (I’m going to write about ‘continuous vs batch’ composting in my next post), whereby smaller quantities of wastes are added on a more regular basis.
In case you are wondering what I did with my own backyard composter this spring…
When I first opened it up I found lots of dry, bulky plant wastes that I had jammed in last fall during my garden clean-up activities. I had been a tad lazy with in the fall since I expected to simply end up using the material as fodder for my winter composting bin. When I opened up the trap door in the bottom, things look a lot better – materials seemed to be broken down quite nicely (thanks to the activity of my composting worms) and there was ample moisture.
I didn’t end up chopping up the bulky materials (which I should have), but I did add leaves and well-aged manure to the bin to help fill in the spaces and to improve the moisture retention. I next gave the bin a healthy sprinkling of water to ensure moist conditions in the upper reaches of the composting mass. I was happy to see that a lot of Red Worms managed to survive the winter (remember this is my regular, non-insulated bin), but I decided to add a lot of new worms anyway just to make sure there is a good population of them in there.
That’s pretty much it. Now it will simply be a matter of adding more waste materials, maintaining moist conditions in the bin and of course starting to remove some of the compost from the bottom.
As you can see, it’s not too difficult to get your bin back in shape this spring!
[tags]compost, composting, compost bin, composter, compost pile, worm composting, vermicomposting, yard waste, spring clean-up, fall leaves, thatch, manure[/tags]
I just came across this interesting YouTube video featuring a relatively simple homemade compost tumbler design. I suspect this system would get a little wonky if it contained a lot of material, but all in all it’s still pretty cool. I know what I’d use it for – I’d make a smaller version for keeping kitchen scraps before adding them to my worm bins. This way I could mix them up and keep them nicely aerated while they decompose prior to vermicomposting!
Last weekend I finally got myself out to the backyard to dismantle my winter composting insulation wall. It was funny to see the composter reduced back to its original dimensions – it looked so small and naked. I’m definitely glad I removed the wall though – this will allow for more air exchange and just keeps things looking a little more neat and tidy. (I’ll admit it – the winter composter was a wee bit of an eyesore).
I also want to allow another batch of compost bin tomatoes to thrive this year. They were an unexpected treat last year, and I think I may even purposely plant some this time around.
I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do with the frame that was used as the outer wall of the winter bin. I’d prefer not to dismantle it since it is rather fragile and may not go back together when I need it next winter. I’m thinking about making it into a simple hot composter – but I will definitely need to secure a large quantity of waste material in order to do so.
When I was out to the bin again this week I checked on the status of the bokashi waste that I had added to the bin a little while ago. I was quite surprised to see that it was almost completely broken down. The worms were loving it, but it seems to have ended up creating a little ‘hot pocket’ in the bin, thus sending them off to cooler regions. I’m really looking forward to adding more of the material from the new buckets I’ve been filling inside. I actually had so much surplus kitchen scraps waiting for a home that i was able to fill one bucket right off the bat. So it is now probably getting close to being ready for the composter (or garden).
Anyway, that’s all for now. Have a great weekend, everyone! With the warm weather now seemingly here to stay (and my gardening activities getting started soon) you can be sure I will have much more to say in coming weeks.
I first heard about the New Alchemy Institute while learning more about one my all-time my ‘eco-heros’, Dr. John Todd (Ocean Arks International). Dr Todd and his wife Nancy (along with William McLarney) founded the institute in 1969 on a 12 acre former dairy farm in Cape Cod (source: Wikipedia). Their goal was to “do research on behalf of the planet”. They explored organic agriculture, aquaculture, ‘bioshelters’ and waste management – all with a primary focus on sustainability.
As fascinating as the research sounded, I’ve never really read all that much about it – and had no idea, until very recently, that there are quite a few New Alchemy publications available online. Not too long ago I was trying to track down information relating to harnessing the heat energy from (thermophilic) composting, when I came across a website dedicated to the New Alchemy Institute. The site was put together by ‘The Green Center Inc‘. From their website:
The Green Center Inc., is a non-profit educational institute that evolved from the New Alchemy Institute. Green Center is the custodian and distributor of publications of New Alchemy’s ecological research conducted from 1971 to 1991.
The Green Center’s New Alchemy site is a fantastic resource if you are interested in this sort of stuff. Here are a few titles of the publications they have available for free in PDF format:
“A Study of the Energy Efficiency of Intensive Vegetable Production”
“An Integrated Fish Culture Hydroponic Vegetable Production System”
“The Composting Greenhouse at New Alchemy Institute: A Report on Two Years of Operation and Monitoring”
Apart from all the great free info, you can also order New Alchemy publications from the website as well. I highly recommend you check it out!
For a bit more of an overview of the New Alchemy’s purpose, here is an exerpt from the Green Center website (originally found in the Bulletin of the New Alchemists, Fall 1970)
“Among our major tasks is the creation of ecologically derived human support systems – renewable energy, agriculture aquaculture, housing and landscapes. The strategies we research emphasize a minimal reliance on fossil fuels and operate on a scale accessible to individuals, families and small groups. It is our belief that ecological and social transformations must take place at the lowest functional levels of society if humankind is to direct its course towards a greener, saner world.”
“Our programs are geared to produce not riches, but rich and stable lives, independent of world fashion and the vagaries of international economics. The New Alchemists work at the lowest functional level of society on the premise that society, like the planet itself, can be no healthier than the components of which it is constructed. The urgency of our efforts is based on our belief that the industrial societies which now dominate the world are in the process of destroying it.”
[tags]new alchemy institute, organic agriculture, living machines, composting, greenhouse, green house, sustainable agriculture, aquaponics, aquaculture, food production, bioshelter, dr. john todd, ocean arks[/tags]
Something I haven’t shared here is the fact that I purchased an Aerogarden back in February and have been quietly growing a jungle of herbs in my basement ever since. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Aerogarden is a (now) hugely popular indoor hydroponic herb garden – one that completely takes the guess work out of growing stuff in general, I might add.
Unlike Anthony (from TheCompostBin.com) who was unsuccessful in his attempt to make an Aergarden jump into his shopping cart (haha), my typing fingers had no trouble magically bringing me an Aerogarden in the mail, along with a not-so-magical addition to my credit card bill the next month!
All joking aside, I just couldn’t resist seeing what all the fuss was about. It sounded way too good to be true, but I also couldn’t ignore all the positive reviews I was able to find online. I think part of the appeal resulted from my past dabbling in hydroponics. I’ve set up several hydro systems and have really enjoyed the ease with which I was able to grow lettuce, basil and various other herbs. One of the things I learned during my active hydroponic experimentation days however, was that fluorescent lights just didn’t cut it as a sole light source for doing any serious growing inside (assuming no other light source). This served to fuel my skepticism when I first heard about the Aerogarden. Sure, I could see how you might be able to grow some herbs with it, but tomatoes and peppers?! No way!
I still have not tested flowering plants out myself, but I’ve gotta tell you I’ve been very impressed with its ability to grow herbs – that’s for sure! My Aerogarden is located down in my dark, cold basement (a.k.a my ‘office’) and all the plants in the system have been growing like weeds. It is hands-down the easiest way to grow herbs I’ve ever used. I’ve almost been disappointed that there hasn’t been more for me to do!
Unlike traditional hydroponics, where you generally need to monitor pH, conductivity etc, the Aerogarden handles everything for you. You literally just insert the ‘grow pods’, fill the reservoir with water, add a couple tablets, plug it in, then press a button! You then simply add two nutrient tablets every couple weeks and fill up the reservoir with water whenever it gets low.
As I mentioned a while ago, we were actually away from home for two and a half weeks in March. My dad came and looked after the house while we were away. All he had to do with the aerogarden was add a little water and one set of nutrient tablets. He was also responsible for watering my houseplants. What’s hilarious is that when we got home the houseplants looked terrible (clearly they had been neglected), while the plants in the Aerogarden had grown by leaps and bounds!
This is actually the perfect indoor garden for a person like me! Like my father (haha), I can get pretty absent minded at times, forgetting to water my plants etc. With a system like this I probably couldn’t mess it up if I tried.
One of the things I saw people complain about a fair bit on websites and message boards was the fact that certain plants (in the herb kit that comes with the garden) performed very poorly – they either didn’t germinate at all, or if they did germinate they ended up having dismal growth afterwards. It seemed that the chives and cilantro were especially bad. What’s funny is that both of those ended up being among the first to germinate, and have ended up doing very well, especially the cilantro. Perhaps it is the cooler conditions that is more to their liking – not really sure though.
Aside from just wanting to test out the Aerogarden in general, I also really wanted to be able to easily grow some herbs for cooking. We love fresh herbs, especially basil, so the fact that we wouldn’t have to buy it ‘fresh’ at the grocery store anymore certainly appealed to me as well. Unfortunately there really isn’t an spot in the house where we can grow a nice window herb garden. Whether it be potential attacks from feline marauders (aka our cats), the lack of light, or the lack of space – our current home is not great for ‘growing stuff’ indoors.
As much as I love the Aerogarden, there are some potential negatives. The grow pods, while convenient and very easy to use, are designed to be used only once – thus if you want to play by the rules you’ll need to continue ordering more seed kits. Same goes for the nutrients (which is a little more understandable). I can appreciate the fact that the company needs to tend to its bottomline yada yada, but I just think this is wasteful.
I may buy another seed kit or two just to try them out for fun, but I’m certainly not going to be throwing out the pods. While the foam inside certainly won’t be usable again I can easily pull that out and replace it with some rockwool (a plant growth medium, used extensively in hydroponic systems) and simply use my own seeds. That will certainly save me some cashola, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to achieve similar results.
Obviously the Aerogarden isn’t the ‘greenest’ way to garden either (not that they claim to be). Yes, it uses a lot less power than most good hydroponic lighting systems (I think the entire unit, including pump, uses up the equivalent of 1 incandescent bulb). Yes, the nutrients are supposedly ‘certified organic’. Yes, I think an easy-to-use system like this might do a lot of good as far as getting more people interested in gardening in general.
But when it comes down to it, any system like this that is mass-produced, packaged and shipped all over the world is obviously going to have more of a negative environmental impact than simply doing things ‘the old fashioned way’, with a planter and some soil. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for technology, and am just as guilty as most people when it comes to supporting products and practices that aren’t necessarily the most earth-friendly, but it is still important to keep these things in mind.
Anyway, I’m definitely not trying to rain on the Aerogarden parade here! To their credit, it is a well-made system (unlike other ‘as seen on TV’ hyped up garbage), it seems to work very well, and like I said, I think a system like this could help to get a lot more non-gardening types interested in growing plants. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?
Aside from re-using the plastic pods, I’m hoping to ‘hack’ the system even more by using my own nutrients – perhaps even some more natural growth promoters, such as worm tea. Yes, I am indeed that much of a rebel!
Rest assured, I will continue writing about my Aerogarden experiences here on the blog as well (I have added a new ‘indoor gardening’ category).
True story…and it relates to the importance of composting (among other things) in my life.
My wedding ring has always been a little too big for my finger. I guess it didn’t seem that way when we first purchased our rings, but for whatever reason, as soon as we were married it suddenly felt loose on my finger. My wife encouraged me to get it resized, but me being me, I always brushed it off as something that wasn’t really vitally important – after all, the ring stayed on my finger just fine. It was simply a little loose, that’s all.
You can probably see where this is going.
Of course, it did indeed eventually fall off without me realizing it – not once, but TWICE!
The first time was back in January. In a crazy stroke of luck, I saw it lying at the bottom end of my driveway the next morning (I still didn’t realize I had lost it)! Needless to say, I thanked my lucky stars and thought perhaps that it was a sign – of what, I wasn’t sure.
For some reason, I still resisted getting it resized – I guess I didn’t feel like spending the money until I was absolutely sure it was necessary. I also worried that it would end up being too tight. After all – it WAS winter. Surely my fingers would expand once the warm weather arrived again.
So I continued to tempt fate…
In February I managed to lose the ring AGAIN! This time the outlook was much more grim. I didn’t realize it was gone for quite some time, and when I finally did realize it, I had just arrived home from a series of errands all over town. Naturally, I assumed that it had fallen at some point along the way – I even thought I could remember hearing an odd sound just after mailing a letter. Kinda like the sound a ring would make as it slides down into a mailbox.
I tried to retrace my steps to see if I could find it, but with no luck. I even phoned the post office to see if they could check the mail bag – unfortunately by that time it was on its way to a much larger postal depot. He said he would do what he could, but warned me the chances of recovering it were slim. I tried various other possibilities, including searching all over the house and property, but still no luck!
It was a major loss for me, and I was both saddened and embarassed (after all, my wife had asked me repeatedly to get it resized). A wedding ring is not just something you can go out and replace. It has major significance (to me, anyway), and a new ring just wouldn’t cut it (unless of course we renewed vows or something like that).
One last possibility was that it had fallen on the lawn as I was bringing in groceries (on that fateful errand day). We had a major snow storm soon afterwards, so I thought it might simply be buried under the snow. Weirder things have happened – I DID find it on my driveway the last time, after all.
Life continued on and I tried not to think about it too much. Part of me still held onto the hope that by some slim chance the ring had indeed fallen off on the lawn, and that I would find it once the snow melted away.
Once the warm weather finally arrived I started feeling somewhat excited, but also quite apprehensive – if the ring wasn’t on the lawn it likely meant that it was gone for good. When all the snow on the front lawn finally disappeared this week I started spending some time trying to find it, but without any luck.
Oh well – bad things sometimes happen to good people, right?
Then…something I’d almost describe as ‘magical’ happened. I finally visited my winter compost bin! I even made it a family event, as mentioned in my last post.
Funny coincidence…I had not opened up the bin since mid February – around the same time the ring went missing.
There is a special pair of gloves that I always put on any time I’m going out to dig around in the composter. Yesterday was the first time I have put them on since February.
Whadya know – after feeling something strange in the bottom of one of the fingers I turned it upside down to try and shake it out, which of course resulted in me coming face to face with my long lost wedding ring, lying on the ground at my feet!
It’s safe to say this experience has taught me several valuable lessons. Clearly, I need to: A) Listen to my wife more often, B) Be more careful and aware, and C)NEVER EVER neglect my compost bin AGAIN!!!!
Well, after what seemed like a very long winter, spring finally arrived in fine style last week with lots of sunshine and temperatures much closer to (and even higher than) seasonal norms. Virtually all the snow is gone, and the ground even seems to be drying out a fair bit.
I just KNEW that I needed to get back into the swing of things with my outdoor composting efforts this week. As I mentioned recently, my ‘Winter Composting Extravaganza’ (season two) fell by the wayside back in February, and my winter bin literally hasn’t been opened since then. Apart from marking the end of my winter composting run, there is even more significance in this – something I’m going to write about in my next post.
In what could almost be considered a spring composter opening ceremony, my wife, my 7 month old daughter and I all ventured out to the backyard to enjoy the warm weather and dump a bunch of kitchen scraps (which have been piling up inside) into the bins. Interestingly enough, it looked like there was a fairly major reduction in volume of materials inside the winterized bin, and temperatures in the composting mass seemed to be in the 10 C (50 F) range. When I dug down into the material I was happy to see lots of red worms and springtails – a pretty good indication that the bin never froze solid. Whoohoo!
My other backyard bin however was still frozen solid for the most part, although when I opened up the compost door at the bottom I saw lots of lively composting worms and no indication of freezing.
I dumped all remaining bokashi fermented wastes (about 1 1/4 buckets worth) into my winter bin, thus finally witnessing the true nastiness of the bottom of a bokashi bucket!
Let me put it this way – it probably wasn’t the best way for me to convince my wife how cool composting really is! The straw-coloured liquid at the bottom of the buckets smelled to high heaven and had the consistency of dog drool. Just a reminder of the fact that it’s not a bad idea to constantly drain off the bokashi liquid, as others have recommended. Obviously it didn’t help that the materials have been sitting in this buckets for quite a few weeks now.
This certainly hasn’t turned me off of bokashi though – in fact I am eager to start up my new buckets again, and make another batch of the bran mix as well. With my outdoor composters ready to be used again I now have a great place to put the finished bokashi material!