Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bucket Vision

I have become one of them. The vermimad. The composting compulsives. Those folks who whimper when they see **perfectly good organics** being tossed away. Not just the old "people are starving, don't throw away that food" mindset, but its logical (oh so extreme) extreme: viewing all not-in-current-use organics as potential nutrients for future foods. Or maybe just food for the soil.

Which would be bad enough, but it gets worse. Like the apocryphal man with a hammer, to whom every problem is a nail, I had a tunnel-vision reaction to a problem for which there really isn't One Perfect Solution For All.

Shame on me!

See, I was asked last week if it'd be possible to feed bokashi to BSFL. And I could not for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to. Waste all that lovely ferment? Guess it's better it be fed to grubs than be landfilled, but... Yep, a fanatic. Bucket-mad, that's me.

There is at least one perfectly reasonable situation wherein one might elect to feed bokashi to BSFL: where bokashi is used to divert organics from the trash-stream without increasing the frequency of trash pick-ups (whether by the municipality or some alternate entity), and no appropriate composting facility has been established to receive that ferment. BSFL don't require a whole lot of infrastructure nor space.

They might also be a way around some restrictive regulations, depending on the area--as feeding larvae could legitimately be seen as raising bait or animal feed rather than running a composting or waste disposal facility.

And bokashi + grubs could answer the Green Seal for restaurant question in urban areas, too! The requirement there is that suitable organics be sent to "a farm," but as distance between city and farmland increases, that becomes less practical--food can rot prior to or during transport, becoming unviable even as animal feed. Mixed-material bokashi is not, so far as I know, considered an acceptable animal feed. But BSFL are. Use bokashi to stabilize the food waste until pickup, then feed it to the larvae at a nearby urban location, and transport only the mature grubs to feed the farm animals.

So, once I got my sight out of the bucket, it didn't take too much for me to admit there are some situations, some times, where it might make sense to feed bokashi to BSFL. But, man, it bothers me. Somewhere in the back of my head, there's this mourning keen for all that fermented matter just waiting to be mixed with dried leaves. Or layered with landfill to rehabilitate the dirt into soil. Or spread out on the grass on the site of a future lasagna garden, topped with newspaper and a tarp and weighted down*.. Or...

Excuse me, I need to go found a twelve-bucket program. Step one: admitting there is a problem.


*Haven't done this yet, people being unreasonably fond of their lawns and unwilling to let me kill them even in a good cause. Sigh. Some day!


DeDe said...

This comment isn't exactly on point with the Bucket Vision post, but wasn't sure of a more suitable place.

I, too, am a landless gardener attempting to produce my own soil amendments with compost. I started vermicomposting because that's all I knew at the time. When I learned about bokashi, I hopped on that bandwagon toute de suite.

I'm certain I made several mistakes with my first bokashi bucket, but it didn't seem bad enough to chuck the whole 3-gallon shebang in the trash. I gave a sample to my worms (which they LOVED) and tried to get creative with the rest.

Into a large (36-gallon?), clear, plastic, storage tub, I layered the bokashi between several (8-10?) inches of used potting soil. The tub does not have drainage holes, and there is no real dirt. Because the tub is clear, I can see what's going on in the middle bokashi layer.

The filled tub has been sitting in my garage for about a week now. It doesn't smell badly (or at all, really), but it looks like there is some white mold developing.

Not sure if I should let it run it's course for a few more weeks, or quickly dump the contents on a tarp, add some dirt and more bokashi bran, and start over.

I'd really appreciate any advice you could offer.

D. S. Foxx said...

Growing white mold is usually mycelia, acetobacters--which means the bokashi is still fermenting, so for now, I'd just leave it alone. And once it's finished with that stage, sounds like you have a Soil Factory waiting to happen. <--yep, there are more of us! -G-

Drainage may not be required, given sufficient absorbent material in cooler-than-Tx climes, but especially in that case I think you'll want to add some living soil. And a handful of vermicompost if you have it to spare (with or without worms). a pinch, you might get away with just vermicompost/vermicast in place of living soil, I think. Not sure my experiences here mean much, seeing as my wormeries have EM-rich garden soil and dried leaves for grit these days. But it might be worth a try.


非凡 said...

I'm appreciate your writing skill.Please keep on working hard.^^

D. S. Foxx said...

Well, thanks! Great avatar, BTW.