Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bokashi Project

On our way home on Friday we stopped off at our friends in Pringle Bay. Their latest project is the Bokashi project, their composting system which also delivers nutrient juice for their plants. They have already tried the wormery option but it was not a major success for them.

They have purchased four  buckets. Two buckets are stacked into the other two buckets. In each of the outer two buckets they have cleverly installed a tap at the lowest level possible. (you can buy buckets with an installed tap but they are pricey)  The inner buckets have holes drilled into their bases. A lid fits over the inner bucket. I recall that they have attached a seal to the lid in order to totally block out unpleasant odour.

They throw all their vegetable peelings  into the inner bucket. After every 5cm layer of peelings, they sprinkle Bokashi granules on top. 

These layers of peelings and Bokashi alternate until the bucket is full. 


A liquid residue  filters down into the lower bucket and every three to four days, they tap off this liquid, dilute it and use it as liquid fertilizer on pot plants and garden plants and lawn. (different ratios for different plants. See my friend's advice below) 

The one bucket is empty while the other one is being  filled. If the first bucket is full before 6 weeks have passed, they start filling the second bucket while the first continues to mature.

This process to fill a bucket and mature the mixture takes up to 6 weeks, whereupon they throw the entire bucket contents into a huge composting bin/heap where they have also tossed grass clippings, manure etc. There, it all continues to cure until ready for use.   

They keep the two bucket-pairs in a utility room below a counter on a mobile platform behind a pretty curtain disguise. This gives easy access to the buckets. 

Definitely on my "to do" list (or should I say "bucket list" ?) as its a way to make compost without necessarily putting it somewhere in the garden in baboon-edible stage! 

Ratio mixing advice:

As for ratios, look at, no.7.  But to be honest, I don't measure very carefully anymore and I haven't killed anything - yet!!  I would advise getting an old measuring jug just for the Bokashi juice - because it's difficult to get the smell out completely. I pour 100ml into a 10 litre bucket of water for the lawn and about 50 - 75ml for flower beds/ shrubs.  I put 2 teaspoons in a 2 litre jug for my pot-plants.  I feed the pot-plants every couple of weeks. Use a very weak solution on seedlings.  Don't be surprised if you don't get juice for the first couple of weeks - it all depends on what goes into the buckets.  And in winter, everything seems to slow down.  I get approx. 200ml juice every 2 - 3 days.

Stormy Weather

We drove up to our plot this last Monday knowing full well that we were going to encounter some wintery weather.

 Snow lay all along the Langeberge and everything was wet, dark and cold.

Extra blankets meant that on Monday night we were snug and cosy while the storm raged outside with dramatic thunder, lightening and plenty of rain. 

 In the morning, the world was squelch and mud. 

63 mm in twelve hours.

John was not able to do any varnishing or painting and so digging holes for trees became his mission for the time we were there. The holes were incredibly easy to dig, compared to the usual concrete hardness of that soil and the holes filled up with water immediately.

All five water tanks were overflowing with water. Insanely, we bought and installed another two water tanks. I suppose we would have to live another full lifetime to recoup these costs through any water savings but we hate to see the water going to waste and our land is too flat to warrant the trouble and expense of an earthen dam. This summer we will be able to water our trees from the tanks whenever we visit them.

We had a very sociable week especially as Thursday was a public holiday. We sneakily invited people to meals at their own homes because ours was too cold and primitive to receive guests. In exchange for taking along supper, we used the convenience of their appliances and left the dirty dishes behind!! In fact, without sun for our solar heated water, the conditions for washing dishes were so poor that we brought a box of dirty cutlery and crockery back to Cape Town for cleaning.

We had planned to stay for the weekend but weather predictions for Saturday induced an early return to avoid poor traveling conditions.

 The Canola Festival takes place this weekend and you can see why.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


During rough winter seas, many creatures get washed up on our shores, often to lie in wait for their inevitable, hopeless end. Mad dog and Englishman made a super find this last week on their morning seashore walk.

They thought this squiddy creature was dead and circled it with cellphone camera, awestruck at its amazing size.  Roy decided that I would not believe him (he does have a tendency to exaggerate incrementally with each telling of a story)  and placed a key on the squid to show its true size. That's when he realised that the creature was still alive because it tucked its head inwards at the key's touch.

Boy Scout-mode kicked in and he carried it over to a rock-pool where he thought it could rest until high-tide came in and would take it out to sea. It moved its tentacles pathetically about and kept knocking against the rocks as it tried to swim away. He gently lifted it out and walked across the beach to the sea where he let it go in the waves. Once it felt the movement of the open sea, it shot away, joyous in freedom.

Some builders working nearby saw his portage across the sand and were sorely annoyed that Roy would not hand it over to them for their breakfast!