Composting Events and news
The Bokashi page at www.carryoncomposting has been updated to include details of largewr bins.
Domestic Bokashi Bins are available in the UK in a range of sizes, a quick search on the web will show bins of 15 litre, 18 litre, 23 litre, 27 litre, 30 litre (stainless). A pair of bins are normally used so that when the first bin has been filled and is fermenting a second bin is available to take the current waste.
However, commercial size Bokashi bins are avialable. The 120 litre wheelie bin style Boakashi from www.mygreenchapter.com ( My Green Chapter is a Dubai-based online garden centre & pet store) is big enough for small businesses, schools and nurseries. This offers such establishments an alternative to aerobic composting and participation in kerbside food collection schemes. As with other Bokashi systems it can be used to ferment vegetable, fruit, meat, fish and dairy products to make environmentally friendly pre-compost for office communal areas or school gardens.
The 120 litre Bokashi bins shown in the photos are available from a company based in Cornwall (https://www.wiltonecostore.co.uk/) and are suitable for medium to large scale use. The bins are shown in one of the photos being used in a bank of six.
Seaweed contains plant nutrients, including potassium, (up to 12%), but it is low in nitrogen and phosphate. It can contain in the region of 60 trace elements, growth hormones and other nutrients and is particularly rich in iodine and calcium. Spraying seaweed tea on plants is said to increase resistance to insect infestation.
Seaweed has been used as a soil improver for centuries and is still used in the garden as a mulch, liquid feed and in making compost. It is also available commercially both dried and as a liquid.
Seaweed is a commonly used as a constituent in home composting in coastal areas. It acts as an activator speeding up the compost process. If using a cold composting technique small quantities of seaweed can just be added to the bin in the same way as any other nitrogen rich “green”. There are mixed views as to whether the seaweed should be washed to remove traces of saltwater or sand with the consensus being that it is not necessary. However, not all plants tolerate salt so if in doubt the seaweed should be rinsed in fresh water.
If using a New Zealand or pallet bin, in which layers of greens and browns are alternated, the seaweed can be added as a separate green layer or mixed with other green material. Shredded or chopped seaweed cut in 1- or 2-inch will decompose in a few weeks compared with six months or more for uncut fronds so, as with other materials, it is better to cut the seaweed into small pieces. If the contents of the bin are to be turned to aerate the organic material occasionally in cold composting or regularly as in hot composting cutting the seaweed into short lengths will also make it easier to turn during aeration and speed up the composting process.
Seaweed can also be trench composted and used to make liquid feed. Details are available at carryoncomposting.com
If considering collecting seaweed it must be noted that many countries have laws or regulations protecting the marine environment and it is likely that these will cover the harvesting of seaweed. Please check.
The use of a Bokashi bin to turn cooked food into a fermented pre-compost that can be added to a normal compost bin provides a relatively cheap way of composting cooked food waste without attracting rats. It also offers a way of replacing a potentially smelly kitchen caddy with the not unpleasant smell of Bokashi Bran and replaces the task of tipping untreated food from a caddy into the compost bin or the Food Waste bin (where the council offers a weekly food waste collection) with that of tipping pickled food into the compost bin.
As a bonus during the fermenting process, the Bokashi bin will produce a liquid known as ‘Bokashi tea’ or “Bokashi juice” which needs to be drained off every 2-3 days. The juice will be a reddish, orangey colour with a vinegar or slightly fruity smell. There may be a thin white coating on the surface or white fungal threads floating in the liquid.
This liquid contains Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium plus other nutrients (which may include boron, chlorine, iron, manganese & zinc) and microorganisms, from the food waste making it a good liquid feed or plant fertilizer and soil enhancer.( Click Bokashi bins) The juice is diluted 1-part juice :100 parts water for bare soil. Earthprobiotic.co.za are more specific in their examples of recommended concentrations for different applications suggesting 1:100 for lawns, 1:300 for gardens and pot plants, 1:500 for succulents and 1:1000 for any sensitive plants.
The diluted juice can be sprayed or watered onto the soil using a watering can fitted with a rose including the soil around plants. It is acidic and should not be allowed to touch the foliage at this concentration although other sources suggests that a dilution of 1:500 or a dilution of between 1: 500 – 1: 000 for spraying onto foliage.
For information and links to other sites at http://www.carryoncomposting.com/416920212
The Bokashi bin started before Christmas is now full and will be set aside for two weeks to ferment. During the fermentation process more Bokashi juice will be produced.
I have used this single bin to deal with the food waste from a family of two adults. hopefully the next Bokashi post will show the fermented product with while fungal mould growing on the surface.
Bokashi is a useful system for those without a garden or who want to convert food waste (including cooked food) into a material that can be composted in a conventional compost bin or wormery. Bokashi will turn waste food into pre-compost that can be added to a "conventional" cold compost bin, buried in the garden or raised beds or added to a wormery. It is a relatively fast process pre-compost will be ready to be added to the soil or compost bin within about 30 days without turning (aeration).
It has been promoted in the UK mainly as a means of diverting cooked food and other organic waste from council landfill waste disposal streams saving of the costs of collection and disposal such the landfill tax. I normally only use Bokashi for demonstration purposes as I have hot composters suitable for cooked food waste but have been usin a new Hozelock Bokashi Composter over Christmas.
If the Bokashi bin is kept in the kitchen or utility room materials can be added directly so the kitchen caddy become redundant We have little cooked food waste, even over Christmas so most of the content was vegatable peelings.
I but it was quite pleasant to be met with smell of Bokashi rather than decomposing waste.
If you only have a Dalek type cold compost bin in the garden I would recommend the use of a Bokash composter to deal with waste food so that it can be added to the outdoor compost bin without attracting vermin. There is more information at http://www.carryoncomposting.com/416920212.
Blackwall twin pack Bokashi bins are avilable from getcomposting for only £20.99 https://getcomposting.com/blackwall-twin-pack-bokashi-bin-kcomslv2