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Monday, 26 April 2010

Bokashi Update

I thought it might be nice to add a little about Bokashi, so here you go.

What is Bokashi Fermentation?

It is the process of pickling organic waste material prior to composting. Waste food stuffs, (including meat, fish, dairy, bones) are added to the special bucket which has a sump to collect the liquid. The aim of the Bokashi system is not to actually compost, but to ferment your food stuffs, this puts it in a prime state to decompose rapidly when it's buried and comes into contact with soil bacteria and microorganisms. The active ingredient is the 'bran' which you will need to keep purchasing for the system to work. The bran contains microorganisms (Lactobacilli, Fungi/yeast, and phototropic bacilli) which cause a fermentation process. When you add new waste to the bin you need to sprinkle 'bokashi bran' on top and push the contents down to exclude as much air as possible, since the fermentation relies on anerobic (with out oxygen) conditions. The container is filled and left to sit for a week or two and the contents are then either buried in the garden or put into the compost bin where they will very quickly compost into nothing. The advantage to adding it to your compost heap is that it will heat up your compost bin, speeding up the composting off all the other contents. The liquid that drains to the bottom of the sump needs to be emptied via the tap and can be diluted 1 to 100 water and used to feed plants, or poured down the drain/plughole, which gives the added benefit of deoderising action.

So, our progress so far? After several weeks of using the bokashi system the contents looks as above. The yellowy brown bits are the bokashi bran (comprised of wheat bran, molasses and microorganisms). The smell is not bad at all, it's like a mild vinegary smell, and only if you stick your fact right next to it. I had heard such terrible things about smells akin to vomit and dog poo, but I suspect people with bad results had skimped on the bran (or maybe they had a lot more meat waste than us, you don't get much meat wasted with 4 Greyhounds). The best bit is that it's started to release fluid, which we can drain off through the tap in the bottom. I've been using it to make fertiliser for the house plants. The only pain is that you can't add tea bags, coffee grounds work great but tea bags produce the dreaded blue mould of doom. Blue mould is apparently very bad in bokashi buckets. No matter, we have a compost caddy next to the bokashi bin so all the non fermentable stuff like paper towels, receipts and tea bags go in there, where they can blue mould to their hearts content. Blimey, what a load of hippies we are turning into!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

*hack* *saw* *pound*

Last week saw the delivery of lots of tannalised scaffolding boards, ready to be dropped onto my thumb (sorry, used to make the raised beds!). This weekend saw us putting the first of them up which was quite a time consuming task. As no garden plan survives contact with the enemy the bed had be adjusted to fit on the fly; however that's an added bonus as it looks like we may have boards left to edge our lawn in so Bex can create exciting borders around it!

In other exciting news I may be about to own my first pair of wellies since childhood; with it being birthday time for us we're asking people for various gardening doo-dads and stuff - am quite excited at the thought, especially as the garlic seems to be coming up lovely :) Home grown veg, mmmm...

Hoping to fill the first of the raised beds over the course of the evenings this week, which should let us know how much soil & compost & manure we need for the others; a gardeners work is never done :)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Raised Beds

Construction! It took all day to erect one raised bed, mainly because of it's size, it's hugely long! They are made from brand new tanalised scaffolding boards and tanalised stakes, all screwed hammered and nailed into place. As you can see it's empty at the moment but it will be filled with a mixture of our sandy soil, compost and not our know what I mean! It's all coming together!
The man in the foreground is my dad, who's been fantastic with helping, we really couldn't have done it without him. I wasn't much use with this section of the proceedings, I stood armed with drill and drilled the screw holes! I did however make lunch which was home made gluten free bread sandwiches and egg mayo made with the eggs from Karl's chickens.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

First Veg!

The first thing planned, all be it in a pot as we still have no raised beds, is Garlic! This is Amy, as you can see she is mightily impressed with the garlic tubs (there are 3). The problem I am finding is that things unknown are nibbling them...could be the pigeons and magpies I keep seeing in the veg garden, or it could be the dreaded rats! One more week of activity and I shall call the council to do a proper investigation in the area, the only activity I can now see is the occasional dropped nibbled food stuff but I can't grow food if something is going to piddle on it or dig it up.

Saturday, 10 April 2010


This afternoons job was a quick splash of wood stain and preserver in Forest Green. I have done no digging at all today as tomorrow is digging day. I think tomorrow will be the last one, just to level the ground until the scaffold boards arrive next week to make the raised beds with. The weeds are starting to return...oh noes! I've also potted up the 2 surviving strawberry plants that survived the winter.
Nath' is amused by my picture as it look like he actually did the was all me, but I needed a willing model.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010 more digging...make it stop!

So, last weekend there was more digging (see title!), we also accomplished the following tasks
  • Filled a second Hippo bag full of stones and turf and bits of unidentifiable plastic gubbins.

  • Cleared out all the fallen conifer bits from round the back of the shed, which are already leaf mould, so I'll stick those in the raised beds.

  • Fixed the slipped fence panel on the back fence that may have been allowing ingress of rats!

  • Noting with delight that the rats now seem to have gone!

  • More digging!

  • Scrubbing the deck(ing) and the patio. to prove it! Note the ridiculous use of New Rock boots to garden in. There is a point actually, they have no treads so I don't trail mud into the house...but they do make you look a bit of a tit while gardening.