How does bokashi work?
Bokashi is similar to the process used in making natural sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt or beer. Each of us keeps a set of 2-gallon buckets with airtight lids in our homes. Then, over the course of the week, we fill our buckets with food scraps generated from the meals we eat. Each time we add food scraps to our buckets, we sprinkle a bit of a specially fermented starter mixture on top, and then seal the bucket airtight. Once one bucket is full, we seal it for two weeks, to allow the contents to ferment. After the two weeks are up, we bring the bucket to Carrie McCracken/TRUCE garden and add the contents to the compost bins or bokashi plot. (At home, while one bucket is sealed and fermenting, we add our food scraps to our second bucket.)
What kind of food scraps do you process?
Any and all types of food scraps are welcome — including not only vegetables, fruits and grains, but meat and dairy. The fermentation action of the microbes kills the pathogens that make it impossible to add meat and dairy to traditional backyard composting piles; it also converts the food scraps to a state that allows it to repel rodents and pests.
What happens when I bring my fermented bucket back to the garden?
Our Earth Pickles crew has meet-ups once a week. During a meet-up, we work as a group to add our fermented food scraps to both the garden’s compost bins and a specially set-aside garden plot. Once the fermented food scraps (which have up until that point been kept airtight) are opened up to the oxygenated environment, they break down quickly. Bokashi is a process faster than traditional backyard composting piles, and that is one of the reasons why we urban gardeners use it. It allows us to recycle many households’ food scraps in a relatively small space, in a short amount of time: Generally, few traces of food scraps are observable in the bins or soil two weeks after dumping them, and if you need to plant quickly, you can put seeds into the fermented food scrap mixture the same day as dumping (with seedlings, you must wait two weeks, until the scraps have disappeared).
Great! Check out THIS BOOKLET to get all the down-and-dirty details. (Many thanks to advisor Shig Matsukawa for its use.) Also check out our FACEBOOK PAGE for our most recent meet-up photos.
How can I participate?
Join the Earth Pickles program and begin collecting food scraps in your home! We have the basic materials to get you started — a set of two airtight buckets, plus a batch of fermentation starter, is available for $15. Subsequent bags of starter are available for $1 each, and you can expect one bag of starter to last you for about two buckets’ worth of food scraps. The very small funds generated from these sales allow us to buy the supplies necessary to continue this group project. Subsidized starter kits are available for those who inquire.
Can I bring my food scraps to you and have you ferment them for me?
No. We are not set up to accept donations of food scraps at this time. However, we’d be glad to set you up with some buckets and have you participate at home. Contact Earth Pickler Carey King email@example.com or 828-713-5179 to join in.
Earth Picklers explained above is the next iteration of our former composting system (see below). We are an iterative group and that’s part of what makes us fun.
We have a new three-bin composting system.
Materials are first gathered in the metal compost bin (trash can with holes), which will be near the front gate, or can be moved to the area you are working on.
As that bin fills, those gardeners with composting training can carry it back to the bins, where the freshest materials go on the far right.
When the compost is turned, it can be moved to the next bin to the left, until it reaches the far left bin where it will finish and be removed for garden use.
Wondering what to compost? Check our list: