Monday, February 28, 2011

Not a bright idea

Bokashi buckets are pretty much always wetter than the ideal--unless you're using a commercial juicer, maybe, or don't generate any waste beyond citrus peels. For the rest of us, the standard-model bucket with a false floor is a good idea. But it isn't always practical, so now and then I play with assorted moisture-regulation techniques.

Someone who shall remain nameless wondered if perhaps condensation of pure water could be encouraged and drained. What can I say, it seemed reasonable at the time; there was talk of a self-watering planter, you see...

Yes, bokashi buckets do generate condensation. Yes, that condensate is [much!] closer to neutral pH than bokashi juice. No, I will not be continuing this experiment.

Because, you see, something in the collection upset the microbial balance inside my test bucket. Instead of the usual this-volume-claimed-by-EM mass, I found pockets of proper bokashi interspersed with pockets where mold was the clear victor in the struggle for dominance. The overall character was of bokashi, so I tossed in a heroic dose of EM bokashi bran and crossed my fingers, but that licheny pale blue-green is not a color that belongs in the bucket. I'm not sure whether it was lack of moisture in those areas or perhaps a bit of intruding air that gave the mold spores their chance, but whatever it was, it has now been stopped, and I will not risk it again.

There are easier ways to water plants. And to keep the bokashi bucket's bottom from stagnating, too.

I do wonder about bio-char...

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