Last night I finally got my Bokashi cycle moving again, after a temporary backlog. My freezer was about to explode!
My landlord recently gave me permission to start a vegetable garden on the premises. Last Saturday evening, my gardener friend came over and gave me some suggestions for the plot. The ground is very hard and barren (surprisingly, there aren't any weeds), so we watered it before trying to dig in. The water initially pooled up and started flowing downhill, so we turned off the water and let the puddle soak for more than an hour.
When we returned, the water had been absorbed, and we stuck a spading fork in to see whether we could actually break ground. Thankfully, we were relieved to find that it was indeed soil at least a foot deep, and not concrete!
My gardener friend advised that we cover the plot with as much compost as possible, both as a mulch to retain moisture, as well as to attract beneficial worms to come loosen and enrich the soil. She also suggested that we prune back some of the branches from the trees surrounding the plot, to allow the vegetables some sun. Shade-tolerant plants that we're considering growing include greens, cucumbers, and potatoes, but we'd like to give them at least some sunlight.
This Sunday, a neighbor and I plan to collect some aged horse manure and stall bedding to mulch the plot. We both board horses in the neighborhood, so we have a convenient, local source for free compost. After we let the plot rest for a while (keeping it moist with periodic watering), we will prune back the trees. I want to keep the shade cover for now, to reduce evaporation - especially since the weather is starting to warm up a lot!
In any event, last night I decided to empty Bokashi Bucket #3 which has been sitting, full, in my kitchen since March 31. This time, instead of transferring it to my terra cotta planter, I decided to bury the waste straight into the ground, as various Bokashi resources have suggested.
I didn't have the liberty to do this before, as I had no access to an empty plot of dirt. Now I do have an empty plot of dirt - and one that desperately needs enrichment from compost!
Breaking ground to bury my compost was very difficult, even though I watered first. I ended up using the same spot where we had tested the ground with the spading fork last weekend. My hole was not quite a foot deep, but we managed to fit the contents of the Bokashi bucket (interspersed with thin layers of dirt), cover it completely, and tamp it down firmly. Hopefully it won't get unearthed by curious neighborhood animals right away!
I'm hoping to continue burying my waste directly in the ground from now on. The plot is large, and I'm sure we can dedicate a section for composting purposes. This will allow me to keep my Bokashi cycle going more continuously, rather than waiting for the material in the planter to finish decomposing before I can empty the next bucket.
Now I can put my planter to good use growing basil. Not only do I use fresh basil frequently for Italian dishes, but my my mother also recently recounted a nice anecdote about my late grandmother's fondness for the herb. The Sweet Basil variety isn't readily available in Taiwan, where she lived, so my mother brought her seeds to grow her own potted plants. So now when I plant basil, I will think of her :) Happy Mother's Day, everyone!