January 30, 2011

Same old story. The past week has been loaded with teaching, house, and Dexter. When I tried to hang out with a good friend after work the other day, I actually fell asleep.

Fatigue aside, I have been wearing lots of polka dots.

And I baked an epic amount of cookies the other day.

And made lemon curd.

However, the most exciting thing is... we started a Bokashi compost!

Michael Thomas, an eager environmentalist, got in touch with Don about our family starting up one of these urban composts (no worms, no mice) in our home. Mike is doing a little experiment where he places these Bokashi composts in a variety of environments (urban couple, apartments, houses with lots of kids, offices) and we're supposed to keep track of our compost's progress and how we feel about living with it.

Awesome, huh? This is the perfect hibernation project. Don and I have always wanted to start a compost in the backyard but it just never ended up happening. Now we have the perfect excuse, and a very "us" way of doing it. With the combination of our organic stuff going in the compost and the blue bag recycling we get here in Edmonton? I am really eager to see how little garbage our house creates.

So here is how it works:

You take your compost stuffs (we had tons of coffee grounds, some mini oranges that were dried out, pear core, banana peel, mint stems, cucumber skins, and garlic skins).

Your assistant gets you the bag of Bokashi.

And you get your pail ready.

Dexter and Don sprinkle Bokashi in the bottom of the pail.


*sprinkle some more*

Add food scraps.

Sprinkle more Bokashi.

Dexter insists on more Bokashi.

Then we covered it with a plastic file folder thing (they suggest squishing it down with a plastic plate or something like that, to minimize the exposure to air, especially in the beginning before the compost is super packed down). Covered it up, and now we will repeat the sprinkling of food scraps and Bokashi as food scraps become available.

Apparently there is an amazing compost tea that we get to drain every 3ish days, and diluted with water this can be used on our house plants (or the garden in the summer). It's supposed to make the house plants go insane.

We were also told that the compost very rarely goes "wrong" and that each batch is really unique. Sometimes it has more moisture and sometimes less. This can be controlled with adding more Bokashi and making sure to give the compost a stir every now and then to make sure the moisture is evenly distributed throughout the mix.

If it does go horribly wrong, the batch can merely be dumped into the regular trash and taken away to the city's own composting system. Or if everything is broken up and you want to start a new batch? Take your mega-compost and place it in the garbage, and your compost will assist and accelerate the city's compost. So awesome.

Stayed tuned for my Bokashi updates, and if you're interested in a Bokashi experiment of your own, you can get hooked up at Ecoliving Organics or if you're in Edmonton you can find all these goodies at Earth's General Store.

The frozen roads may keep me bungalow-bound, but that won't keep me from doing regular everyday things that make ecological sense. Bokashi!


Natalie said...

I have a regular compost bin in the garden and I love it. Where I live in London (in the UK) we get all glass paper, card, cans and plastics collected as well as garden waste. With our compost bin I find that we produce about half to three-quarters of a sack a week. So satisfying!

Mandy said...

I noticed this in a garden store in Victoria (BC) last summer and it peaked my interest but I didn't follow through. As a balcony-less, compost-less, eco-concious apartment dweller, I certainly *will* be staying tuned. Looking forward to hearing how your experiment turns out!

misssable said...

baby D is a good composting helper :)

BTW: your tights look good!

Al said...


Bokashi is a great indoor composting system. Its nice to see it being used in more places in Canada.

If you need any help/advice, drop me a line. However, everything you've written on your blog indicates to me that you already know what to do.:-)



P.S. I got an email from Mike today telling me about his experiments.

Eric said...

Awsome job Sarah and helper Dexter!
We're thrilled that you guys are sharing your experiences and wish all the success you food scraps can provide. We'll be looking out for you...keep up the good work!

Your friends at Eco Living Organics...
-Eric and Gail!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Mind if I use that really cute photo of your son on my Bokashi blog in Sweden? All in a good cause...
I've been following Mike Thomas' experiment on the blog and decided it was time for a new update. Hope it's going well for you there with your bucket!
Thanks, Jenny

Erin B said...

PLEASE keep us updated. I want to compost but I'm having problems with mice in my traditional outside bin.

caseynet said...

Thanks for helping the environment. Dexter looks like he enjoys helping.

miss sarah said...

Nat - Yes, we're really spoiled here too, we don't even have to sort our recycling. Just chuck everything possible into a blue bag and it gets sorted by hand on the other end. That is, unless you're like Don and you like to save up your bottles to take to exchange yourself:)

Mandy - Apparently Bokashi was made popular by exactly apartment bound, balcony-less Europeans!

Sable - You can look at it tomorrow and see what you think.

Al - I would love to have a Bokashi friend in you, thanks.

Eric - Thanks for supplying Mike with all these goodies! Hopefully we can make some change.

Anon - Use away with the cute photo! Which one?

Erin - With the nearly impossible streets you can be sure that I will give at least a weekly update. Particularly when it comes to smell and tea and possible gross-factor.

Casey - We do what we can, and it's encouraging to have support!

Desi said...

I found your blog via Hello! We bought our Bokashi bin over the winter break, and it's working really well for us. And I love that you're such a proponent of bicycle transportation. I've never gotten my driver's license, so my bike is my wheels. Good reading, you!

tricotmiss said...

Ah! Now I see. I am going to watch your little experiment closely (& check it out for myself when I visit). I really want to start composting at my place. I grew up composting, so it feels so wasteful not to - just haven't been able to find the right solution yet. I'm thinking this might be it.

Bokashi Cecile said...

More and more people are using bokashi bins, it is good to see that people feel more and more concerned about their impact on the planet. Plus bokashi is a great fertilizer, which helps you a lot to grow your own healthy vegetables. This is much better than use those chemical products...


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