I love using compost in my garden. I've had great compost scenarios and - I'm not gonna lie - I've also had smelly, gross messes. When we moved to the cabin, I began researching compost systems I could use in our off-grid location. I wasn't sure if the kitchen compost container would be stinky because we didn't have AC. I also was concerned about the outdoor compost bin that needed to "cook" because we have so many critters. I didn't want to attract bugs, mice, or larger critters like deer, antelope, or elk. We had a male mule deer just off our back porch last winter, so I know they think they own the joint (rightly so, I might add).
Because I cook from scratch so much, I generate a lot of compostable materials. Most counter top compost containers are too small for my weekly compost needs and I don't want to have the compost hanging out on the counter drawing flies. Without chickens or goats (maybe next spring!) to eat the scraps, I need to be thoughtful about the time it will take for the compost to break down. And because we travel, I need a system that doesn't require constant tending. Hmmmm...
Enter the Bokashi Bucket. With it, I have a 3-stage system that works for me.
Stage 1 - scraps go in the small compost container on the counter.
Stage 2 - when that gets full, I transfer it to the Bokashi Bucket that lives under the counter. It's an anaerobic
system, so it isn't stinky. The activator enzyme mix fuels the composting process and generates the compost
tea. I can access the tea whenever I need it by using the spigot at the bottom of the Bucket. The
Bucket is big enough to hold scraps for about 2 weeks.
Stage 3 - when the Bokashi Bucket gets full, I transfer it outside to a large air-tight compost bin that continues
the anaerobic composting process. This breaks the compost down pretty quickly and I have usable compost
in 4-6 weeks.
I really like this system. I've been using it for 4-5 months now. No odors in the kitchen (even the cats ignore it). The Bucket is lightweight and easy to take outside to drain the tea or to transfer the compost to the larger bin. So far, no smells or issues with critters of any size trying to get into the outside compost bin as it's tightly sealed to support the anaerobic environment. As far as the flexibility to travel, we're good to go! When we were out of town recently, we returned and just picked up where we left off. As my grandmom would say, "No fuss; no muss!"
Dr. Christine Girard is a physician and educator. Prior to medical school, she worked as a sous chef and baker at a vegan, macrobiotic restaurant. She lives off-grid in Northern Arizona.