How does it work?
We have a total of four green compost bins (a, b, c, d) located next to the aroma lab.
- First, an empty bin starts at the kitchen where it will collect food scraps until it's full. The order of use should remain alphabetical (i.e., start with a>b>c>d).
- Once a bin is full, leave it closed to ferment anaerobically: 2-weeks Fall and Winter (indoor). 1-week Spring and Summer.
- If no more bins are available, empty the bin that's been fermenting longest (check compost log to verifiy). To do so, take the bin outside to the garden compost, empty it, and put it back in the space (detailed instructions below).
- At least once a week, someone should fill-in the compost log to update the status of bins by filling this online form.
- Liquids needs to be drained on a weekly basis to avoid rotting. You can also collect it to use as natural fertiliser for plants (see below)
- How do I know it's fermenting properly?
The most reliable indicator of good fermentation is smell. A good bokashi fermentation should smell like sour pickles, but not rotting foul smell. If it smells horrible, start by draining any liquids using the tap, and add another scoop of starter on top. Make sure the lid is sealed tightly.
- No more starter. Where do I find more?
In the dry storage, on the farthest wall to the right (next to the food-shelf), you will see a navy plastic container. Inside you should find more bokashi starter. A 2kg bag usually lasts between 1-2 months. If you are down to one bag, order more online (Biogrei.be)
- How do I empty the green bin?
Once the green bins have finished fermenting (check the compost log to make sure), take them outside through the aroma lab entrance, to the garden compost pile next to the Clean Lab. You will need the following tools from the Aquaponics to make the task easier: A pitch-fork, gloves, and a water spray nozzle.
Position the full green bin in front of the compost pile and push it so it's tilting forward.
Lift the bottom of the bin upwards with both hands at the wheels to empty the content. If you're having a hard time, use the pitch-fork to spread the content and repeat until everything is out.
Next, use the water spray to rinse clean the metal grill and the bin's inside. Place back the grill at the bottom. Now that the bin is empty and clean, bring it back through the aroma lab, or in the kitchen for the new cycle. Remember to put the tools back in the Aquaponics.
- How do I use the compost?
Compost takes a couple months from the time it is emptied into the pile, to the time it can be collected. However, before using the compost to your garden, you need to sift it to separate finished, fine materials, from the coarser unfinished parts. Unfortunately, we only have a manual sifter which should be located either in the Aquaponics, or outside of it by the water tap.
To use the sifter, place the latter on top of a wheel-barrow and use a shovel to extract compost and place it on the sifter. The finer particles will go through the wire in the to wheel-barrow, and the larger particles should be thrown back in the compost.
Do this until you have extracted enough compost for your desired needs. You can use this rich compost by mixing it with soil in your pots and garden beds. You can also use it as mulch by adding it onto the surface to keep the moisture and protect the top-soil.
- Where is the Compost Log / Fill-in form?
- Who is responsible for emptying/cleaning the bins?
Ideally, everyone should be involved in some degree as a communal task. For this reason, it is recommended to have a couple people volunteer on Wednesday mornings to check on the bins and drain/empty them if necessary. If a garden intern is available, ask them for more details.