Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pardon me, can you spare some trash?

It's a temporary situation, but still extremely odd: I have a garbage shortage! Haven't been hauling my workplace organics home, as I'm just not that dedicated to the cause, so bokashi is from household stuff only. Add in a couple of meals out, plus a single-use press cup for those mornings when I'm running late (which would be all of them -G-) that means the grounds go with me, and the in-house organic's down to half a gallon or so per week. And then add in the fruit flies, I think from some too-cheap-to-pass-by citrus, and the situation becomes dire indeed.

The infested organics went into a salvage bucket--a planter, really, for the necessary bottom drainage, with a thick layer of soil, then lots of extra EM bokashi "bran" and the all-too-living bokashi, topped with three inches of soil and a weight, and stuck under the deck to rest for at least the next couple of months. Probably longer than necessary to get rid of the short-lived flying pests, but I'd rather not take chances.

Half a gallon of bokashi isn't enough to feed the en-towered iterations of Verne, let alone begin to replace the amendments I've been using in the spring gardening, and there are new garden spaces this year, so I'll need more still. Barring raiding the neighbors bins (eww!), whatever am I to do?

1) Change the menu for Verne's next meal. UCG and dried leaves, spritzed with AEM, should keep the wriggle happy--and it doesn't have to be at my standard 1:1 ratio, either. The reason I've been feeding bokashi to worms is to convert the fermented "waste" to something more useful given my particular needs, but that's not the only way to acquire that useful substance!

2) Substitute weeds for kitchen waste. Yes, that's what I did with the failed 100 degree bucket, but with temperatures not yet in the 70s, failure is unlikely. If I want a bucket of wettish fermented vegetable matter, cleavers past their use-by date and random thistles should do for a base.

3) Use the cured bokashi as a compost accelerator. That is, mix a larger volume of dried leaves and fresh garden waste, or some other combination of greens and browns, in the approved giant pile or bin, and stir in my few scant cups of ferment to kick-start the heating reaction. It's a little soon in the year to try the black plastic planter routine, but I do have all the supplies, and again, the 1:1 ratio I use for bokashi and dried leaves is a convenient guide, not a rule--if the goal is compost, perhaps 10:10:1 green/brown/fermented might do as well. Or 8:15:1, even.

4) Hit the coffeeshops. UCG is a lovely "green," despite its undeniably brown color, and is as well the only non-carbon source I've yet found to use as a carrier for microbes. Too, coffeeshops are used to gardeners asking for their UCG, so it's a little less odd than asking the neighborhood cafe if they wouldn't mind setting aside their food waste for me. Though, really, if this goes on...


[empty yellow bucket image from Doc's Frugal World, since the link seems to have vanished from the earlier post.]

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