How to make a soil factory!

Just had a query from someone in our facebook group looking for a blog I did ages ago about our “soil factory”. I couldn’t find it either (how do you just lose a blog entry??!!) so I posted up a few pictures in the facebook group with a quick description. For the sake of posterity here are the pics:

Just like any other raised bed, but reserved only for producing soil! Saves you thinking about where to dig down your next Bokashi bucket, just keep digging them down here and fill the wheelbarrow with good healthy soil when you need it. Add whatever else you have at hand, wood chips, straw, harvest leftovers. Not weeds! I generally cover mine with a big black tarp to keep seeds blowing in and preserve moisture. Breathes enough and helps warm the soil. You can do this in any shape or size, it doesn’t have to be this big!

btw we found out it’s easier to build these big boxes on a flat surface (driveway?) upside down then tip them right side up and carry them into place. It’s really hard to get them straight and nice if you build them on site.

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10 thoughts on “How to make a soil factory!”

  1. Great pics Jenny but we don’t have room for big beds like this so I just use 2 regular cheap compost bins – the type with a lid and no base. When its ready I tip my indoor bokashi bin in one of these and top it with a little soil. When its full, I start to fill the 2nd one. When the 2nd is full, the 1st one has turned into lovely rich composty soil ready for my vege patch. A question though, is this alright to use in pots too or should I get another bin just to recycle potting mix?

    1. Hi Vicky! Yeah, I realise we’re somewhat spoilt when it comes to space at home, most of the time it’s a luxury but now and then I think it must be heavenly to live in a microscopic townhouse and not have so much to look after! (But that urge soon passes…). We’re also lucky in that we get more than enough rain so watering is never really an issue. Although I can usually be caught out complaining about that too, I really miss the Aussie sun. The principle is the same though whatever size and shape it takes. Your system sounds great! I usually recycle potting mix separately, mixing with Bokashi in a highly unsystematic ratio. Sometimes more, sometimes less, just depends on the day and what I have on hand.
      If you wanted to keep the potting mix “clean” you could always run the process in a big barrel/box/bag/bin, covered if you have seeds flying around or moisture to maintain. As with all soil there’s no right and wrong, you just use different mixes in the places they seem best suited. Love to see a pic if you’d like to post one! (In the facebook group may be easier or mail me info@bokashi.se).
      Happy gardening! Jenny

    2. Hi Vicky! Yeah, I realise we’re somewhat spoilt when it comes to space at home, most of the time it’s a luxury but now and then I think it must be heavenly to live in a microscopic townhouse and not have so much to look after! (But that urge soon passes…). We’re also lucky in that we get more than enough rain so watering is never really an issue. Although I can usually be caught out complaining about that too, I really miss the Aussie sun. The principle is the same though whatever size and shape it takes. Your system sounds great! I usually recycle potting mix separately, mixing with Bokashi in a highly unsystematic ratio. Sometimes more, sometimes less, just depends on the day and what I have on hand. If you wanted to keep the potting mix “clean” you could always run the process in a big barrel/box/bag/bin, covered if you have seeds flying around or moisture to maintain. As with all soil there’s no right and wrong, you just use different mixes in the places they seem best suited. Love to see a pic if you’d like to post one! (In the facebook group may be easier or mail me info@bokashi.se).
      Happy gardening! Jenny

  2. What a great idea! Thanks so much, Jenny.

    I don’t have to ‘dig my Bokashi in’ as my garden is far from finished. I save Bokashi bags and use them either when building new raised beds or when planting a tree. However, I am always looking for soil to build up my beds and any soil left bare is soon a weed bed.

    With your idea, I can mulch the soil and just scrape the mulch off to fill my barrow. I think my soil factory will be a little smaller, too.

    Also, I don’t know if I mentioned yet that I was reading Prof Higa’s site (http://emrojapan.com/about-em/em-products/activated-materials/howtomakebokashi.html) recently and came across the following alternative method instead of digging holes. (under the heading Products and the sub-heading EM Bokashi):

    “◦Follow steps 1-6 above.
    ◦Incorporate the materials from the bucket into your compost pile, covering with at least 8 inches of compost materials.
    ◦Turn the compost pile as you normally would. The materials from the bucket with boost the anaerobic bacteria in your compost and add valuable vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids to your compost materials. EM also encourages the growth of other beneficial microbes and prevents putrefaction in the compost pile.”

    I feel like I am starting a whole new adventure as I now have an active compost tumbler (it was useless before). I have added Bokashi ferment to compost piles before but have left them undisturbed as I thought I had to. Bokashi and my compost pile now work great together. I sometimes don’t even have a bucket on the go as I can now put any scraps that are more than I can use up in my wormfarm and in-garden worm feeding stations, into my tumbler along with grass clippings, leaves, etc. The fermented Bokashi already in the tumbler makes short work of the newly added items. My Bokashi-loving dog can’t even get to it. LOL

    Bokashi Rocks!
    Kerri

    1. Have to say I agree with you Kerri: Bokashi rocks!! There’s more to it than I ever imagined, and somehow I don’t think we’ve understood the whole picture yet. Makes life a whole lot more interesting! Your garden sounds wonderful, love to see some pics!
      Jenny

      1. I have, and I love it! I am in the U.S.A. Arizona desert, so weather is the opposite challenge to yours. I use two approaches: The first is a large plastic container like yours. The bokashi is mixed with some soil that I purchased. The dust here had little life to offer.
        The second approach is a hole I made in the dust and rock we call the ground. I lined the bottom with branch trimmings to create a base, then mixed purchsed soil and bokashi. I now just add bokashi and pull out soil. After several months, even the hard to digest sticks have turned to soil.
        This stuff truly is magic. Scientifically explained, but MAGIC!

      2. Hi “Simian”! Really interesting to hear about life in the desert. Hard to imagine I promise you! But getting crap soil to come to life is the same challenge wherever you are. And I agree, this stuff is truly magic. You just get more convinced every time you scratch around in the soil and see the worms having a ball. Nature at it’s best.
        Sounds like you’ve got a good system going there. What are you growing? How much rain do you get (any at all?). I saw a film once of a guy doing submerged growing beds, by the same logic that we build ours up for drainage and warmth he dug his down for water preservation and to keep them cool. Fascinating and smart.
        What do people around you say when you show them what you’re doing, do they get inspired?
        /Jenny

  3. Thanks for the link to the previous post, simian. Much appreciated.

    This looks much like how I use Bokashi in my wormfarm (which is my soil factory, I guess). However, as different worms like to live at different levels, I find I have to separate worms from soil when I want to use it in the garden.

    I have on the ground compost piles which I ‘bomb’ with Bokashi, also, which gives me soil in a reasonable short space of time.

    However, I will need to try this method as I will enjoy actually seeing the effect of the Bokashi right there before my eyes.

    Thanks always, Jenny, for your amazing ideas and simple techniques. We are all better for having found you.

    Kerri xx

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