The Cadillac of composters

I'll go out there on a limb and suggest that most gardeners use some form of compost. Whether its leaf mould or full-blown black gold compost made from food scraps, interest in composting is definitely on the rise. And for good reason. Turning food scraps and waste into nutrient-dense soil just makes sense.

The one drawback with conventional composting is that many people don't have the space necessary for proper compost bins. Apartment and townhouse gardeners have turned to worm composting and rotating bins that you crank by hand to speed up the rotting compost. Both methods are successful but can still take a long time to produce miniscule amounts of soil.

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Bokashi composting has been around in North America for the past 15 years and is a safe, convenient quick way to compost food waste - right under your kitchen sink.

Bokashi is based on an ancient Japanese practice that ferments food waste by covering it with a mix of microorganisms that mask its smell, and eventually produce soil. In Japanese, Bokashi means "fermented organic matter."

The actual process is more fermentation than actual rotting/composting. Bokashi uses a particular group of microorganisms to anaerobically break down the food waste. The magic takes place in a sealed bin, so no air gets at your rotting food and smells are almost non-existent.

One of the rules of regular home composting is to never put meat or dairy scraps into your backyard composter. For those of you intrepid souls who might have tried this, you probably noticed a rancid smell and the fact that meat and dairy take an incredibly long time to break down. Our house is situated on a regular bear path and reducing smells and temptations for bears are a huge hurdle.

Bokashi compost method encourages the use of meat, fish and dairy scraps as well as the usual vegetable matter and if done correctly, you can have finished compost in two weeks.

You can find Bokashi compost kits in Vancouver at West Coast Seeds. They include a plastic bin, and a bag of the Bokashi "all-season mix" (the fermentation mix). The bin has a spigot, and as you layer your waste and it begins to ferment, it creates an instant liquid plant food that you can use on your edibles and perennials. You can also use your own bin and buy locally made Bokashi from a company on Salt Spring Island.

If you are really handy, try making your own Bokashi mix by googling EM Bokashi recipe.

Give your sweetie a Bokashi bin for Valentine's Day. Totally unique.

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@ Copyright Squamish Chief

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