Bokashi for people with small courtyards

A few weeks ago I did the rounds to see my parents. No small thing considering my mum lives in Sydney and my dad lives in Auckland. And I am living here in Sweden…

Given that both places are Bokashi hotspots I would have loved to have spent some time sticking my nose into things there. having a bit of a chat with people and seeing what’s going on. But it just wasn’t that sort of trip so the study visit will have to be saved for another time.

One small thing I did do while I was with my mum in Sydney was help her get restarted with Bokashi in her small courtyard garden. (That’s it in the picture above. Cute. But very small…). In true nerd fashion I got her started on Bokashi composting 3 or 4 years ago and she liked it a lot. Not having much space though it made most sense to use the same hole each time to dig down the fermented contents of the bin (my brother got that job :-)). She scooped out the ready soil from the Bokashi hole in advance, worms and all, spread it in good spots in the garden, then the new bucket went into the same spot. Worked brilliantly in a warm climate like Sydney.

But the thing is now her arthritis means she’s having trouble with the indoor bins. Too hard to open and close. So we decided to give those away to some neighbors and do the whole thing directly in the courtyard.

Step one, I walked down to the local hardware store and bought a biggish bucket. It didn’t have a lid so I picked up a planter tray roughly the same size that could sit on top of the bucket. I asked the guys in the shop if they wouldn’t mind sawing off the bottom of the bucket for me. Obviously they thought I was nuts but it was really no problem.

Step two, we sort of screwed the bucket down into a spare spot in the little garden, hidden behind a fern. We put the planter tray on top and plonked the nearest heavy thing on top to keep it in place. Ta dah…!

What she does now is to toss her food scraps each day directly into the bucket. A sprinkle of Bokashi bran, lid back on and that’s it. No clumsy lids to open and close and no buckets underfoot in the kitchen.

I’m not saying this is the perfect solution but it seems to be working fine and is a good compromise if you want to get many of the benefits of a full Bokashi system without going all the way. The trick is to throw in a handful of soil now and then, or some dry leaves, to trigger it along.

The bucket we bought was really not that big and filled up in a few weeks so she’s doing another one in another spare spot in the garden. Between the two buckets she should be able to deal with most of the scraps she produces.

And given that her soil is hopelessly sandy this should make all the difference. The worms at least seem to be extremely happy!