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Thread: disappointment with the Bokashi bin & tumbler

  1. #1
    moola is offline Sprouter
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    Default disappointment with the Bokashi bin & tumbler

    Hello there - not been on the forum for ages (trying to stay off the 'puter!) just wanted to ask about other grapes experiences about Bokashi bins and the compost tumbler.

    My Bokashi bins simply do not seem to be producing the goods. The first time over winter they were great but since Feb I have had diddly squat. I'm not going to bother anymore tbh. I have loads of bran left over which I can give to the chooks (I rang the seller about this all - they were only too quick to advise this ..makes me wonder) and the bins themselves are absolutely ace for producing that stinky nettle fertilser - so I can put those to good use too.

    The tumbler HAS broken things down (and is quite quick in doing so) but I really wouldn't say that it would be any good to put on beds. So for the meantime - I am popping it in with leaf mulch for next year.
    I'm a tad miffed tbh - I spent a fair amount of 's on trying to create good compost and fertilser but neither seemed to have worked that well as intended.

    I also wanted to query how good the tumbler compost would actually be. My father mentioned that normally compost needs to get very hot in order to kill off nasty viruses that you wouldn't want to transmit. He's very old (but lovely) school though - so was questioning this...any sciency boffs out there?

    Hope you're all enjoying this fantastic weather still nice and sunny in Suffolk.

    just wanted to add - just offered the bran to the chooks - it's a no-go. They tried, then left it all. Does anyone have any ideas what I could do with 3 bags of the stuff? stick it with the grass cuttings etc in the tumbler? .... aha - just read that it needs mixing in at 4% - so will try this as well. Aids digestion and neutralises poop so poop can go directly onto garden (apparently). Gosh I must have the poshest chooks - on Garvo feed with Bokashi added in.
    Last edited by moola; 29-06-2010 at 05:38 PM. Reason: update

  2. #2
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    I have found bokashi takes much longer to break down than I expected. When I read about them, they advised leave the full bin outside for at least two weeks, add to compost and it will break down in 6-8 weeks. Also, I understood that the bokashi compost would help the rest of the compost to break down.

    This hasn't been the case at all with my bokashi, which has been on the go about a year and a half (I emptied the first bin in November 2008).

    On top of that, I find the bin lids to be very light and I wonder how 'anaerobic' the gunge inside can be.

    However, I continue to use bokashi as it is great for taking leftover cooked food which can't go directly on to the compost.

    I never used a tumbler, but I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will be along soon.
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  3. #3
    Alison's Avatar
    Alison is offline Gardening Guru
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    I don't understand your problem with the bokashi, what do you mean that it isn't producing the goods? I only use mine for stuff which won't go in the wormery / compost bin so it's mainly fish skins, meat fat or cooked scraps. It takes a good couple of months to fill but produces plently of liquor in this time (although nowhere near as much as my friend who puts veg waste in hers). I then sit them in the shed for a couple of weeks and bury either in the compost heap or in the garden. I used the last lot under the bean wigwams. Have found it breaks down VERY quickly and really attacts lots of worms.

    Some of us live in the past, always talking about back then. Some of us live in the future, always planning what we are going to do. And, then there are those, who neither look behind or ahead, but just enjoy the moment of right now.

    Which one are you and is it how you want to be?

  4. #4
    moola is offline Sprouter
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    I was suprised at how the bins managed to work well once but then not again, since. I bung everything (except the 'nots' that are on the list) into it, use plenty of bran (I have bags of it) etc. And the lid HAS to be made tight because I have the most devious greediest of spaniels in the house. Everyone else has raved about these bins....
    maybe I'll give it one more go and chop stuff down etc to see if these will help kick start it.

  5. #5
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    taff is offline Early Fruiter
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    Quote Originally Posted by moola View Post
    I also wanted to query how good the tumbler compost would actually be. My father mentioned that normally compost needs to get very hot in order to kill off nasty viruses that you wouldn't want to transmit. He's very old (but lovely) school though - so was questioning this...any sciency boffs out there?
    There are a couple [ok, more than a couple] of ways to make compost. The hot method works if you have a lot of material, of both kinds [green and brown], and can make a fairly big heap. In the big heap, heats generated by the organisms, and the material rotting down. If you turn it regularly, you encourage the organisms to keep working, and you make compost faster, which I think is the idea behind the tumbler, it just turns it more easily than you can by hand with a fork.

    A normal heap doesn't get to the same temperatures you'd find in say a councils waste compost scheme, which is why it isn't a good idea to add weeds like bindweed etc, they just won't die in there, whereas you can put them in the councils green waste bins because their heaps reach temperatures of 60+ degrees.

    Virii, fungii, etc, not so sure what is and isn't killed by a normal heap, again, probably the reason we're advised not to add blighted toms etc. So he's right, but you're not likely to generate the kind of heat you need to kill everything in a normal heap, just most harmful things.

  6. #6
    Two_Sheds's Avatar
    Two_Sheds is offline Compost Everything...
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    Quote Originally Posted by taff View Post
    A normal heap doesn't get to the same temperatures you'd find in say a councils waste compost scheme ...
    My Daleks are literally steaming hot at the moment (they've just had an inch of grass slippings, are in sunshine and watered once a week to keep the contents moist)

    I'm tempted to put all the school's horsetail in them.
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

  7. #7
    moola is offline Sprouter
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    Thank you taff. We have a brown bin as well so I'll stick anything nasty/iffy in there.

    Just one more question - kind of related - we pull out loads of blanket weed from our pond (we're awaiting arrival of our barley rolls). As it is 'pond' weed do you think it would be OK to be put in the tumbler? We always let it dry out on the pond banks before disposal - it is teeming with wildlife. We don't mind a bit of it but it is really taking over things in this current hot spell.

    Kind thanks

  8. #8
    taff's Avatar
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    I do. Or on the veg as a mulch.

    TS, haven't got any daleks anymore, wish I had yours though

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