Container Gardening Update

| April 11, 2012

In the Northeast we have to wait until after the last frost before we can plant most vegetables. This works out just fine. I was a little concerned that I was starting my vegetable garden too late, but it seems that I’m right on time.

When I went to the local agricultural supply store to buy wheat bran for bokashi mix and seeds for the vegetable garden, the gentleman behind the counter gave me a bit of a gardening lesson. He saw the number of seeds I was buying and mentioned that I was pretty good for all of them except I’m too late in the season to start tomatoes and red peppers from seeds. Those I will have to purchase as plants in order to plant them in my vegetable garden this year.

He also advised not to wait until Memorial Day to purchase the plants. I should plan to purchase them 2 to 3 weeks prior to Memorial Day or else I’ll be stuck with the runts of the vegetable litter.Seeds

Not in Bad Shape

Now that I have some breathing room, I can concentrate on making my bokashi mix and creating more self-watering containers. So far I’ve only created one, but I intend to make several more.

As far as the bokashi goes, since I’ve got about a month before I can plant, my first 5-gallon bucket of bokashi has enough time to fully decompose leaving behind nutrient rich soil for my vegetables. If I’m lucky, I might be able to get two of my buckets fully decomposed. According to the information I’ve read, the bokashi process takes 2 weeks of fermenting and 2 weeks to decompose after its buried in the soil.

My first bucket is already filled and starting its 2-week fermentation. According to my calculations, if I bury the scraps on schedule, I should have soil by May 8th. That gives me ample time to use some of the soil in my container.Bokashi Schedule

Homemade Bokashi Mix

In the meanwhile, I’ve gathered all the ingredients for making my own bokashi mix. Making my own mix is much more economical than ordering it online. It cost me $12.50 for 50 pounds of wheat bran. I already had molasses in my pantry and I ordered EM1 Microbial Inoculant for my effective microorganisms.

I ordered the 32 oz. Size of EM 1 for $22.99 (plus I paid a ridiculous amount in shipping charges). When you consider I only need ¾ cup or 6 ounces per 50 pounds of bokashi mix, I’ll get 5 batches out of the 32 oz bottle.

Ordering bokashi mix online costs about $15-$20 per 5-pound bag. At that rate it would cost $150 for 50 pounds of mix. By making it myself, including the unreasonable EM1 shipping costs, 50 pounds of mix costs less than $20.

BTW, EM1 isn’t absolutely necessary for making bokashi mix. You can make your own effective microorganisms, but I chose to order it instead.

My goal is to have the bokashi mix made and ready for use before my current 1.8-pound bag runs out (they advertise 2.2 pounds but I measured it and it’s only 1.8), but I think that’s cutting it too close. You see after making the mix it has to sit for 2 weeks before it’s usable. There’s a good chance my 5-pound bag won’t last that long.50 Pounds of Wheat Bran

I’ve got my work cut out for me so I had better get busy.

A side note: When I went to buy the wheat bran, the gentleman asked if we had horses. My husband said, “No, my wife is making bokashi mix.” Dead Silence…The guy just looked at us with a blank stare and said, “Okay, y’all have a nice day.”

I’ll be back with a bag of mix, a bucket and nutrient rich soil. He’ll be a bokashi convert before it’s all said and done. 😉

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Category: Bokashi, Container Gardening, Saving Money

About the Author ()

Felicia is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment.

Comments (4)

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  1. Joni says:

    It’s good that you don’t stay with something just because you think “you should”. I’m bad about guilting myself.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve only had several plants in my life that I tried to “improve” and they died on me. I have one that I know needs to be in a larger pot but after what happened with my banana tree I’m afraid to touch it. Yes, it appears there may be a few leaves trying to open. If they do and the tree starts to flourish I’ll repot the other one.

    It is so weird how some plants seem to thrive on neglect…

    Joni

    • Felicia says:

      I don’t know much about banana plants, but they look similar to one of the two plants that I’ve not killed yet.

      As far as putting plants in larger pots, when my plants need more room, they’re doomed. I’m hit and miss when it comes to transplanting. I’m hoping to improve my average with my new found gardening interests.

  2. Joni says:

    Felicia, you go whole hog into everything you do, don’t you? Good for you. I love it when you stump something who thinks they know more than you…LOL.

    I’m disappointed. I repotted my banana plant and one by one the leaves are dying. I don’t understand it. It has been in the little pot I put it originally (around 10 years ago). I never gave it plant food, only watered it. The leaves always popped back if I went too long without water. I even knocked it over about a year ago and half the dirt fell out and I picked it back up and patted the dirt back in and watered it.

    I put it in a larger pot with expensive (to me) Miracle Gro (that is suppose to help all plants) and nothing. Do you suppose it got so use to my abuse that it can’t live any other way? lol? Its a joke but being a retired therapist I know people (myself at one time) that cannot cope outside dysfunction if that is all they have ever known.

    I’m doing what the instructions say on repotting an indoor banana tree and just hoping it will take a few weeks. It does look like new leaves might be starting. When they do they are tightly wound and slowing begin to open up. I feel like I killed it.

    Thanks for listening.

    Joni

    • Felicia says:

      I think there’s hope because your banana plant has new leaves.

      I understand what you mean about plants getting used to neglect. I’ve got a plant that has been doing just fine. I barely look at the plant or water it. Recently I felt bad for it and started caring for it. It immediately showed signs of distress. I decided to go back to ignoring it and it came back to life. Go figure!

      As far as going whole hog…yep. One of my personality flaws. I go 100% while I’m interested. After the interest wanes, I leave and go onto the next. My interests are cyclical. Nothing stays dormant forever. My passions usually reignite and I’ll come back to pick up where I left off.

      I believe most folks have cyclical interests but they force themselves to stick with something because they’re expected to.