Jasmine is in the air.

My heart always leaps when I smell the first scent of jasmine for the year.  It promises long summer days and warm evenings in the sea, and salads and fruit and sitting outdoors with friends.

So with the storm now passed and waking to a fine day I was inspired to get into the garden.  Between my awesome new job, the battle with bandicoots and general winter hibernation, my herbs have been quite neglected.  The only thing that’s really survived the cold months was the lemongrass, which I chopped back today to dry and use as tea.  But I bought some parsley and a few pots of colour from the market which will start to revive my little garden.

Later James and I headed down to the harbour for a picnic lunch and a lazy hour and a half soaking up the sun.


The Bokashi Project: Part 3

I’ve been waiting for a sunny day to take some pictures in the garden but the forecast suggests I could be waiting a while, so I nipped outside this afternoon before the light faded (it’s now pouring as I write this).

With a quick turn of the trowel, it was easy to see my first bokashi batch had gone to plan: three week’s worth of kitchen scraps had all but disappeared, with just an odd teabag or so remaining.  I was expecting that black, crumbly soil you get from composting, but I’ve realised the dirt in my garden is quite poor and it’s going to take a few bokashi buckets to revive it, for which there’s no short supply, because I dug in my second bucket today too.

Overall I think bokashi is a fairly no-fuss way to manage kitchen waste as a unit-dweller, provided you have somewhere to empty your bucket.  I like that we can tip the scraps into a big bucket in the kitchen, rather than go outside each time, and there’s no mouldy scraps bin deal with.  It also breaks down faster than regular composting so you can use it sooner.

I thoroughly recommend this DIY method – if you can thrift some suitable buckets, you’ll only need to buy the bran, so it’s really inexpensive.  And if you’ve got friends that do bokashi, you can buy in bulk and it’s even cheaper.

As with any gardening, a little experimentation is needed.  Initially I was wondering how many buckets I’d need, but for our little household of two I think two buckets will suffice, filling one while the other matures.  I’ve also trialled two bucket styles. The nappy bucket I found on Freecycle works really well because the lid fits tightly but is easy to take off, and it’s a good size, about 15 litres.  The other one, as I’ve previously mentioned, needs some muscle to open and close, but they both do the job needed.

I also discovered one morning that a bandicoot had been digging where the bokashi was buried.  It was just the once so I’m not too concerned, but you may need to dig deep if you have larger wildlife in your neighbourhood.

Another great thing is that there’s nothing soggy in the regular bin, so no need for plastic bin liners – and now there’s hardly anything to throw out anyway.

The Bokashi Project: Part 2

It’s been a couple of weeks now, just enough time for my first bokashi bucket to mature, and since the sun is shining today (a rare occurrence this summer), I thought I should make the most of it and try the next stage of my project.

As you know I’ve snubbed the fancy commercial kits in favour of Jenny’s Swedish bucket: one nondescript bucket, no holes, with a lid. I feared I’d have a bucket of slime to dispose of – it’s been sitting in the kitchen for weeks, so I went outside and gingerly opened the lid, and…

It worked!  No bad smell!  The scraps were “pickled” with a little of the good mould (the white, fluffy kind), and just a vague tang.

My next task was to bury it.  There’s a tiny plot of garden by my back stairs which is technically common area, but I’ve claimed this neglected spot as my kitchen garden.  Growing basil is one thing, and digging big holes in the garden is another, but all I needed was a trench about 1m long, 0.5m wide, and about 20cm deep to bury 10 litres of bokashi.  Now I wait another two weeks for it to break down, ready for use.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had acquired 2 litres of free worm tea.  It’s not that significant in itself, but I received this liquid gold through my local Freecycle group.

Freecycle for the unacquainted is a web network made up of thousands of groups around the world with the aim of keeping “good stuff out of landfill” – or anything else people might be giving away or looking for.  It’s free to join and every gift, given or received, is free.

So you can imagine I was pretty happy when a kind soul replied to my “wanted” post for worm tea to nourish my new herb garden.  Better than anything you can buy in the shops.