Other Options

bokashiIf you fall into the category of people who just do not have the time, space or volume of compostable material to maintain a compost pile or bin, there are several alternatives available to you.

 

Bokashi Buckets

Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning ‘fermented organic matter’. It is often referred to as a type of ‘composting’ but it is actually a anaerobic fermentation process, resulting in a much different end product than that produced via composting. Many people like bokashi because it is very easy, and generally odour-free. All that is needed is a bucket (with lid), some special bokashi mix, and of course some organic waste.

The food waste breaks down due to an “EM Inoculant” (an inert product such as rice hulls, wheat bran or saw dust, infused with effective micro-organisms or EM) fermenting and accelerating breakdown of the organic matter. Once the fermentation is complete, the compost can be buried or placed in a modified compost pile to complete its decomposition. The end product is rich, dark compost, ready for the garden.

 

Sheet Composting

This eliminates the compost pile as the composting materials are spread in layers on top of the ground, usually in a flower or vegetable bed. This process is slow, but if you are willing to wait, you can sit back with your feet propped up and let Mother Nature take its course. As layers decompose, additional layers can be added and the depth of the bed is built up.

Sheet composting can also be used to make new garden beds without all the usual backbreaking work. All you need is to define the bed area, then cut everything within that space down to the ground. Next, cover the cleared area with layers of newspapers, 8 to 10 pages thick. Wet the newspapers to help keep them in place and cover them with mulch or leaves to a depth of at least several inches. You can continue adding materials, such as grass or garden clippings, to the area. Depending on where you live, in 6 months to a year anything previously growing the the area will be gone, weeds, roots and all. What you have left is soil rich in organic materials ready for planting.

 

Trench Composting

green-wasteThis is exactly what it infers. Dig a trench about a foot deep and begin filling it with organic waste from the kitchen or the garden, avoid meat, bones and fatty food. As you fill the trench with waste, you cover as you go. This has the advantage of helping to keep unwanted creatures away. One system developed by the English many years ago and especially well suited for vegetable gardens involves laying out three rows. The first row is for planting, the second row is for walking and the third row is for trench composting. Each year, the rows are rotated so the row used for planting the first year becomes the row for composting the second year and the row for walking the third year. This way, the row used for composting the first year will have two years for the waste to breakdown before crops are planted on it.

 

Post Hole Composting

This is a variation of trench composting and probably goes back to when man first began to farm. It involves using a post hole digger to dig a hole (about 12 inches deep) in your garden area, add your organic waste and then refill the hole with the removed dirt. Each time you have gathered enough organic waste, you dig a new hole and ‘plant’ it. This method can start feeding the surrounding plants as it breaks down. To complete this composting process takes about the same amount of time as with the trench method.

Composting does not need to be labor intensive or time consuming. Incorporating any of these passive composting methods will start you on the way to a greener lifestyle and a smaller carbon footprint.