Outdoor planters — rain and Bokashi do wonders!

Remember the tests we were starting up a few weeks back with bricklayers buckets? Sturdy black plastic tubs — seemed like they’d be perfect for container gardening. Well — they are just brilliant!

Under all the flowers above is a 65 liter tub, filled with a good strong bokashi mix. I planted some rather half-hearted dahlias in it a couple of months back and pushed in a few seeds of this and that for good effect. That’s it. Admittedly it has rained rather a lot this summer but I give the Bokashi and the warm black container full credit for the show. Next year I’m planning to do more of these!

My idea come autumn is to empty the tubs into my garden beds (around the perennials where it’s hopeless to dig down any Bokashi) and stack them in the woodshed. During the winter I thought I could prepare them gradually by tipping in a bucket of Bokashi from the kitchen now and then and covering with half a sack of potting mix. Come spring they should be ready to plant and I will have got rid of a lot of winter bokashi.

Next pic was a bit of an experiment. I was a bit short on potting mix the day I came to plant out these flowers, early June I think it was. So I just dug up a wheelbarrow or two of soil from my “soil factory” (in reality a big timber raised bed with a tarp over). I have no idea of what the mix was but it would have been extremely strong as we’ve dug in countless buckets of Bokashi in the soil factory and it’s always just packed with worms. The base soil in is some poor clayish top soil we had left over from some building project.

Anyhow the result surprised me. I thought that these plants might either die from a total overkill on the nutrition front or they would just produce a lot of green leaves and skip the flowers.

On the contrary! I haven’t touched them since and apart from a lot of rain all summer they’ve just quietly done their thing. Admittedly they are a bit over the top but still — I kind of like them this way.

So now I know what to do next year!

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5 responses to “Outdoor planters — rain and Bokashi do wonders!

  1. This is great! I use bokashi in my raised garden beds, but used standard potting mix in my planters. My son’s cherry tomatoes are growing there, but I’ve had some die-off and flower-end rot due to a very, very wet summer and nutrient-poor soil. I’ll turn some bokashi in before I cover the pots for winter. Fantastic idea, Jenny!

  2. Jenny, Hi from Texas! I recently purchased a bokashi “kit” with two 5-gallon buckets, and found your blog after searching for more information. I’ve filled up one bucket, but haven’t yet worked it into the soil. I appreciate all the information you have provided and look forward to future posts! Laurie

    • Hi Laurie! Great to hear! Hope it goes really well for you now. I promise you won’t look back (sure there’s many others will agree with me there).
      Number one tip when you’re in the startup phase is keep it dry in the bucket. If you see condensation on the inside of the lid throw in a newspaper to soak up the moisture, that way you’ll keep it smelling nice and fresh in your bin.
      Good luck!
      Jenny

  3. Thank you very much for all the time youve spent to include us in your composting adventures! I’m a composting newbie and havie just completed my first fermentation cycle. Yaaaay! I’ve read that you can add the bokashi compost to a regular compost system (basically add browns) to further break down the greens. Well, I ordered a tumbler type compost bin, added some topsoil, shredded paper, my bokashi compost and more shredded paper on top. I then turned the bin a couple of times and didn’t monitor it. Hoewever, today I went out to check on the progress and behold, I now have tons of baby flies inside my bin! Yikes, my hubby isn’t too happy about my new “projects”. I’ve read that the flies won’t hurt the composting process but I have to figure out how to get rid of these flies! My hubby wants to dump the bin out & I feel like I’ve worked quite hard to save all the components to start this compost. Do you have any advice/remedies that could help? I don’t want to be a fly factory!!! ;0)

    • Hi Kristen! Woops, that doesn’t sound like so much fun. The flies that is. Everything else sounds fantastic!
      Depends what kind of flies they are, and I’m absolutely no expert on the subject. Usually flies get in because there are openings in the bin and if the Bokashi (or any other food waste for that matter) is open on the surface they’ll get stuck in and lay eggs. On a static compost pile we’d normally say always cover the Bokashi when you put it out, even a few newspapers is better than nothing, just so you keep the flies out long enough for the Bokashi to turn to soil.
      I’ve never had a rotating bin but is part of the deal that you should rotate it each day? Not sure if that would help with the flies though if they’ve already got going.
      Another thought I had is, how wet is it in your bin? In my (humble) experience flies get more a grip in wet soil/compost. Maybe you could let them fly off (if they would be so kind) and then add in some dry stuff to the mix to make it less hospitable. I’m not at all sure about this theory, though, hopefully someone else out there would know more.
      (You don’t want it too dry in your bin either, the happy medium is something like “damp”)
      Another idea would be to not turn the tumbler after you’ve set it up, but add some layers of paper or an old mat over the mix for a couple of weeks to let it do its work in peace, without a fly-laying surface.
      What sort of climate do you have there? Is the tumbler in a sunny spot? If so the process should go quite quickly and the fly problem will sort itself out when there’s no fun food to hang out in.
      Any other ideas from readers out there gratefully received!!
      /Jenny

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