19. Repurposed compost bin

Another method that is great in winter is to use an old compost bin to make bokashi soil.

If you happen to have an old composter in your garden, you’ll soon find it’s not used when you’ve been doing bokashi for a while.

But don’t toss it or give it away! If you have space, it can still be really handy.

If it’s the kind of compost bin that’s portable, you can pick it up and move it to some spot in the garden with soil that needs improving, and use it like one of the bottomless barrels in the previous section. This works really well, once you get used to it looking a little bit odd, and is perfect if you live in a colder climate with a winter season where you’re not growing anything in the veggie garden.

The valuable thing is that you skip that really boring (if you ask me!) process of emptying the compost bin and moving the contents around the garden. If you have already moved it into place, any runoff nutrients will end up in a valuable spot. And when it’s time to empty it, you can hopefully use lift off the compost bin and shake out the contents.

Just like in the bottomless barrel / bokashi tower above, you might find there’s a mix of fantastic soil, big clumps of worms, and some unconverted material. You can spread out what’s ready, dig down what’s not, or transfer the less ready bits to your next location.

If you don’t want to, or can’t, move your compost bin, then you might want to use it to as a storage spot for bokashi in the winter. It’s an easy option, and although it’s technically not as good as digging down bokashi directly into the soil, it’s practical when the ground is frozen or when it’s just boring to work in the garden.

A very important thing here though is that, unlike in traditional composting, bokashi should never be on the top of a pile. It should ALWAYS be covered over. So if you empty the contents of a bokashi bucket in your compost bin you’ll need to cover it over with soil, with autumn leaves, with a good thick layer of garden waste, or in worst case a couple of bags of shredded newspaper or other scrap (and non-glossy) household paper.

If you have a garden compost, a pile with a lot of hedge clippings and other green waste, you can also add bokashi to this. Actually, it really helps to kickstart a pile like this. But you’ll need to push the bokashi into the middle of the pile in some way; an easy solution is to take a garden fork and lift up part of the pile, empty in your bucket bucket there, then lower the pile again to cover it over.

Compress the pile a bit too while you’re there, either hop on it, or press it down in some other way. This is to remove as much air as possible, and to give the bokashi as much contact with the garden waste as possible. Keep an eye on the moisture; if it’s too dry it will need watering, if it’s too wet you may need a tarp over it, or to add some dry materials.

3 thoughts on “19. Repurposed compost bin

  1. That’s how I’ve dealt with my bokashi for years! I run 2 bins (though might move to 3 now) and keep them in the shade as its too hot for the worms otherwise. I top each bucket load with spent potting mix or shredded leaves from our Lilli Pillis – when one bin is full I start on the next and when it is full the previous one is ready for use. I use this to top up my raised vege beds but find I need to put a layer of mushroom compost on top or I get a mass of tomato seedlings. Grows beautiful tasty veg – just planted tatsoi, purple broccoli, gai lan and radishes for my winter crop.

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