Bokashi garden

Bokashi is just great for tomatoes!

I’m happy to say our tomatoes are doing really nicely this year! I’d like to say that it’s all due to the great Bokashi soil they’re growing in but I have to be honest and say it’s been a great summer with a lot of warm days. (Not something you can always count on in Sweden…:-))

Nevertheless! The tomatoes are growing in a variety of buckets big and small, suits me better than growing straight in the ground. This year I’ve tested a row of smallish buckets (the ones in the pic) for the cherry tomatoes. And they’re working brilliantly.

For a start, it’s recycling at best. I collected a ton of mayonnaise buckets from the local pizzeria during the winter and put them on stock. Each tomato bucket is made up of two pizzeria buckets. In the inner buckets I drilled normal drainage holes and in the outer buckets I just drilled a couple of holes on the side (as you can see in the pic). That means that all the valuable Bokashi  juice that drains from the soil is collected in the lower bucket and eventually taken up by the plant. If there’s too much water the excess will drain off through the side holes, but I try to manage it so nothing much is lost.

And it certainly makes life easier when you go away for a couple of days to know the guys have a little water reserve of their own underfoot.

Nutrients? Well, the Bokashi soil goes a long way so I don’t usually start adding extra nutrients till quite some way down the track. I fill the buckets with one-third Bokashi straight from the kitchen and two-thirds soil (just cheap potting mix). You could mix it first but I normally don’t bother, just throw in a thin layer of soil first then the Bokashi then the rest of the soil.

Later in the season I usually top up the soil with some grass clippings (nitrogen power-boost but also helps keep the moisture in place) and some bokashi juice from the bin in the kitchen. None of it is that systematic mind you, most things in my garden tend to happen on the spur of the moment.

One question that comes up quite often is what happens if you overdose the Bokashi, too much of the good life. Will you just get a lot of leaves and no fruit? Or overgrown tomatoes with no taste?

Well, you have to admit things certainly grow well in this supersoil. And I’ve had a few things grow bigger and faster than I would have maybe chosen. But with a bit of common sense you usually find a reasonable balance quite soon — just look at the Bokashi you dig down as being as strong as cow dung, possibly stronger and go from there.

I ran into a woman living nearby a while ago, she’s one of these great gardeners that has grown everything that goes on the kitchen table for the last 30 years, and has been using Bokashi for some three years. Of course I was curious! But she said, there’s a bit of a problem… Oh? (Yikes, I’m thinking…) What’s that? Well, you see it’s my cherry tomatoes. Yes, and? Well, they’re big. Much bigger than I’ve ever grown before. So how do they taste, watery? No, they’re just marvellous! Healthy, juicy and delicious. They’re just bigger than any I’ve seen before! So there’s no real problem then…? Nope, this Bokashi thing is just brilliant!

Phew.

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3 comments

  1. Your neighbour is so right! I turned six months of bokashi into our garden before planting this spring. It’s been a ridiculously rainy spring and summer, here in Alberta, with many overcast days. Everything in the garden in way bigger than we’ve ever had – even the pea pods are twice as big! I agree – this bokashi thing IS brilliant!

    1. Whoot! (Isn”t that what you say Desi??!!) Great to hear it’s working so well, you did such a fantastic job of getting the winter to work there, it’s so good you’re getting some payback now. Giant peas?! (By the way, Desi has a great blog, check the bokashi posts (of course!) but then just go on and be inspired by the rest. Really. It’s lovely. Thanks for sharing Desi!)

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