A couple of months ago I wrote about a project in Berlin that really inspired me. Right there in the middle of an incredibly grey, incredibly urban jungle, cars rushing by on all sides, these guys have created a community garden.
And the thing is they’re doing it all in bread crates. Stacked on timber pallets.
Nice and easy to move if someone decides they should put up a high-rise there instead. And the only real option when the land beneath their feet is a lovely mix of asphalt and god-knows-what.
So we’ve decided to run some experiments here on the same theme, but using Bokashi to make the soil. Urban gardening in bread crates. Even though it’s mid-winter. Even though we live about as un-urban as you can get with, say, 3 cars passing by per year. Our plan is to set up the crates on the veranda now during the winter and see how they can be used for winter storage. Veranda = asphalt, right?
Then, come spring, we’ll try whatever we can think of to assimilate urban gardening. I’m dead sure we’ll be able to make soil directly in the crates — the idea would be to grow in the top one on the stack and make soil in the lower ones. And if we put out a couple of the trays on the grass for a while I imagine some worms will move in, enough to start a little colony. If they like it, perhaps they’ll stay. Even when the stack gets moved back onto the gravel. With any luck they’ll work their way up and do their worm-thing tray by tray.
You’re right — this is all very theoretical at this stage. Probably a near-case of cabin-fever after several months of snow…
So maybe you could help us? Wherever you live you must surely have an earlier start to your spring than we have and perhaps you’d like to give it a go. Test everything! Let us know what you find out!
It would be really, seriously, cool if we could find a simple way of getting urban gardening and Bokashi working together. Hard to imagine anything more elegant than old food becoming new food right under the nose of the urban planners!
SOME PRACTICAL DETAILS:
You can see pretty much what we’ve done in the pictures above. The crates have a grid of holes bottom and sides, we’re lining them with newspaper to prevent soil escaping down the track. They stack nice and neat on the veranda, we’ve put various plastic and bio-bags (biodegradable bags) filled with Bokashi into each crate. Seems to work fine for winter storage, the whole lot will just sit there and freeze until spring.
When things start to thaw we plan to cover the bags in each tray with soil and/or autumn leaves. The important thing is that the Bokashi is not exposed to air at any stage. Probably we’ll slit open the bio-bags or at least punch holes in them as they will take forever to break down otherwise. The more soil-contact the better — that’s what gets the soil-making process going. Oh, and a cover on the top crate is probably a good idea so your soil doesn’t get rained away if you’re not under cover.
Of course, you could just use this as a handy winter storage. In the spring you could just carry the trays out into the garden and dig down the bags/empty them or whatever. Same if you had an allotment somewhere, or a community project going. A few trays of ready Bokashi would be a godsend come spring.
That’s the plan so far. I’ll get back to you when spring comes. If it ever comes…