Bones! In the bokashi or not?

Finally it seems spring is here!

Yesterday, I was poking around in my boxes, checking how the soil was doing, deciding which ones needed a top-up of bokashi, which plants were going to go where this year. You know, that delicious pre-season joy when everything is still possible — nothing has gone wrong yet, and everything you plant will be just marvelous. Well, why not?

And so I found these two bones. Plus a few more of different shapes and sizes, origin unknown.

Mostly I just ignore them by pushing them down underground for another season. Even if they take many years to break down they’re not exactly in my way. And because I have a big garden, and really can’t afford to be terribly fussy about things like this, it just doesn’t bother me.

This bone was a beauty however!

A leg of lamb? Elk? Really can’t remember. We live in a hunting district and now and then have the good luck to receive a bag of choice cuts of moose from our favorite neighbor, so maybe that’s where this has it’s ancestry.

I have no idea how long it’s been there.

We’ve been doing bokashi here for ten years so it could be anything. What’s become obvious to us by now, however, is that big bones don’t really disappear. They just lose their strength, gradually.

The next step for this guy is that I’ll take a hammer to it and pound it to bone meal. Sounds brutal, but it’s not. Bones that have been through a bokashi treatment and then been in the soil for a while tend to become very brittle, they have none of the strength they started out with. So it’s no big deal to crush them, even a beauty like this one.

So, nothing is wasted here in the bokashi landscape. Even tough, old bones like this one become bone meal, no bad addition to any soil.

Smaller bones, like chicken bones, are way easier. They do take a while, a season maybe, but in the end just disappear of their own accord.

Many people prefer not to put big bones in their bokashi bins. It’s all a matter of taste really, if it gives you the creeps to have bones turning up in your garden then it’s better to put them out in the normal rubbish collection. But if it’s easier, all things considered, to run them through the bokashi then through the soil for a while, then why not?

Here at home, we no longer have any rubbish collection. All plastic, glass, paper, batteries, metal, whatever, is sorted here in Sweden so our rubbish is down to maybe 1 or 2 liters per half-year. Which is when the rubbish truck picks up our bin. It’s so little it’s almost embarrassing. But for purely pragmatic reasons I don’t want to have any food waste at all in that bin, so every last bone goes into the bokashi bin.

And resurfaces, inevitably, at some unforeseen date in the future. Ready for it’s final hammering and eternal life in the soil.

So when it comes to bones, just do what feels best for you. But either way, it will work. It’s really no big deal.

Photo: Jenny Harlen

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