What To Do with Bokashi When the Bucket Gets Full and I Have No Place to Bury It
November 10, 2021
I recently attended two composting classes: a basic home composting class and a composting class using the Bokashi Method. I selected this method because I live in a condo with a small patio that has been covered 90% with tiles. (There remains a small patch of dirt measuring 10 feet long by 16 inches in width, super hard, and covered in a lot of gravel.) Therefore, I was hoping to put a raised bed at the front of the condo since I’m in a remote section. However, I was informed that condo rules don’t allow for raised beds to be placed on the front entrances of the apartments. My dilemma is this: I now have a full bucket using the Bokashi method, which I have sealed and will remain unopened for another two to three weeks, but I don’t have a place to bury it. Is there a place where I can drop it off? Or, can I get a small tumbler and put the “pickled” Bokashi compost in it? I that’s an option, do I have to mix it with soil and how do I keep the moisture from evaporating? I would appreciate your help in this process.
Answer by MR: My first suggestion would be to look at the restrictions placed on you by the condo a bit more closely. Are containers of any size allowed? I could understand a rule against raised beds if they are so large and heavy as to be unmovable and therefore “permanent”. That would limit the adaptability when a tenant moves out and the next tenant doesn’t want the raised bed. But if large containers that can be easily moved are permitted, you could still have a suitable gardening situation that would enable you to mix in the contents of your Bokashi bucket and create a contained garden with great soil.
If that’s not a possibility–or even if it is, but you still find yourself with too much Bokashi compost to use in your containers–I’d suggest looking for the nearest community garden and donating it to some knowledgeable gardener(s) there. Or, when I was selling at the Downtown Growers’ Market from 2000 until 2012, I had an exchange arrangement with several of my regular customers: They would collect their kitchen scraps (the same things that you’re putting into your Bokashi bucket) for the week, bring those to me in a plastic bag, and I would give them a fair amount of bagged greens, seasonal fruit, or eggs. Then I would compost the kitchen scraps in my compost bins. (I have a farm with horses and chickens, so I’m composting on a larger scale, although I have used and taught the use of the Bokashi method.)
Finally, if you put the contents of your bucket into tumbler, you’ll be going from an anaerobic system to an aerobic system. So in order to keep things from beginning to smell bad, you’d want to add some soil to it, and then you’ll be faced with the same dilemma about where to put that wonderful soil when it’s finished. Try the options above first, before you invest in a tumbler.
Please don’t hesitate to write if you have further questions.
Answer by RR: You caught me on that one. As you likely remember from my presentation:
No place to bury?
Donate to a community / school garden
Give it to a friend with a garden
Rehabilitate old potting soil
Add it to your compost pile/bin or worm bin – but why?
or I’ll even take it. Soooo….
Donate to a community / school garden => the problem is, I actually don’t know how you go about donating it, so I need to do some research
Give it to a friend with a garden => this is a good option if you know someone who could benefit from it. Is there a common area in your complex where this could be buried?
Rehabilitate old potting soil => this is also a good option, but you are going to need a container at least twice as large as your Bokashi container. You can layer the Bokashi pre-compost alternately with old potting soil or any other soil that you want to improve. Make sure it is moist and cover it with some type of mulch. Two problems with this option: 1) now you have a container that is twice as heavy as your Bokashi bucket, 2) after a month or two, you now have almost twice as much (improved) material to find somewhere to put.
Add it to your compost pile/bin or worm bin – but why? => This is a last option if you know someone with a compost pile/bin
I’ll even take it => I would burn more carbon driving to the west side of town than you have saved in your bucket
Move some rock on your patio, loosen compacted soil by soaking it with water, then dig 12” x18” hole (this may take several iterations of soaking and digging),and bury Bokashi pre-compost in it. Keep adding / amending to that space and will eventually have fertile soil to grow veggies, etc.
For future disposal of your organic waste, Home | Little Green Bucket has expanded their service area. You could consult with them.
I appreciate your dilemma, Catherine. I have been somewhat cavelier in my teaching by expecting that it is easy to find something to do with your Bokashi pre-compost even if you live in a place with no yard – that obviously is not so. Our position at BCEMC is the best composting method is the one that works for you and the one you will use. I still think this is an excellent composting method for folks in your situation, but I would suggest figuring out what you are going to do for stage 2 before you start your next batch of stage 1. That doesn’t solve your present circumstance of what to do for your pending stage 2, but maybe some of my colleagues will have some other ideas
Answer by JZ: You could:
* Move some rock onto your patio (10’x16”) loosen compacted soil by soaking it with water, then dig 12” x18” hole then bury Bokashi in it. Keep adding / amending to that space and will eventually have fertile soil to grow veggies, etc.
* Bucket contents may be added to a covered plastic storage container or large flower pot, then mixed with soil in that container.
* Per their website: Home | Little Green Bucket. Have expanded their service area. You could consult with them.