My Containers for Gardening are Almost Ready

| May 17, 2012

I’m going to try to make this long story short.

I buried my bokashi wastes and was disappointed that it didn’t completely decompose in two weeks. I thought I had made a colossal mistake only to find out I was laboring under a misconception.

The fermented matter doesn’t decompose in two weeks. What happens in two weeks is the acidity level of the fermented food normalizes making it possible to plant in the dirt resting on top of the buried wastes. An aha moment!

Here’s a video with poor sound quality showing my misguided bokashi disappointment:

Creating Unnecessary Gardening Work

While my bokashi wasn’t breaking down in my large purple container, I decided to create a separate self-watering container. In the second container (blue), I had my hubby affix wood and wheels to the bottom.

Learning from the heavy 36-gallon purple container, which is currently filled with dirt and decomposing bokashi, I realized I needed wheels in order to chase the sunlight if necessary.

In the 45-gallon blue container I decided to take a different bokashi approach. Once it was set up, I added the necessary layer of dirt, layer of bokashi and then 6 to 8 inches of dirt above the bokashi. Instead of waiting for everything to decompose, I now know in 2 weeks it’s ready for planting.

I did quickly realize, however, that I had to plug the self-watering tube to prevent the off gassing smell of the fermented matter deep beneath the soil.

Self-Watering Container

You can see the red/white towel stuffed into the watering tube to prevent the off gassing smell.

Since I just added the bokashi to it on Mother’s Day, I can’t plant in it until May 27th.

Large Gray Gardening Container

Now that I know the soil sitting in the purple container is plant ready, I’ve got to transfer it. You see, the purpose of the purple container originally was to hold the bokashi until it fully decomposed. That being the case, I didn’t drill drainage holes in the container. I’ve now got a lot of dirt, but can’t plant because it doesn’t have drainage holes. Enter the gray container.

I just finished converting two 50-gallon gray containers into one self-watering container. I took the easy way out this time.

As with the blue, hubby created a wheelbase and glued it to the bottom of one of the gray containers. In the other container I drilled drainage holes and cut out two squares to insert small wicking mechanisms to wick the water up from the bottom. To maintain the 3 to 4 inch gap between the bottom of the two containers I inserted 3 3-inch deep food storage containers (purchased from the Dollar Store).

Gray Container

Soil Transfer from Purple to Grey

I did mention I was going to make this long story short and apparently I’m not doing too well. So, here’s the quick down and dirty of what’s happening next.

I’m going to transfer the bokashi soil from the purple container to the gray container. I’ll have to add more dirt because the 36 gallons of dirt isn’t enough to fill the 50-gallon gray container.

Bottom line, when it’s all said and done, I’ll be able to start planting in the gray container as soon as it’s filled with soil. The acid level has normalized and the bokashi buried in the container will continue to decompose and nourish my garden. Whew!

Same Day Update: I’m going to give credit where credit is due.  The “off gassing” wasn’t coming from the bokashi.  I just bought 6 more bags of Scotts top soil and the smell is coming from the soil.  Kinda makes  you wonder what goes into Scotts top soil.  Fortunately the smell dissipates after a few days.

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Category: Bokashi, Composting, Container Gardening

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 (2)

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  1. Crystal says:

    I’m loving being along for the ride on your container gardening adventures, Felicia! I’m a little confused about the self-watering aspect, however, so went back through your posts and found the video that explains it. And it’s my lucky day because, although I don’t have the bandwidth here at home to watch videos online (which is why I don’t have a clear idea of how it works), I’m going to town for a few days to work on one of our rentals and I can see the video while I’m there.:)

    • Felicia says:

      Glad you’re following along on my bumpy ride. 🙂

      I think once you watch the video on why and how to create a self-watering container it will all make sense.

      On a side note, I blamed the bokashi for “off gassing” and creating a smell. Well, it’s not the bokashi’s fault. I just bought 6 more bags of Scotts top soil and I realized as I was loading up the car, the smell is coming from the bags of dirt and not the bokashi.

      Hmmm, makes one wonder what they’re putting in their soil. I am happy to note that after a couple of days the smell goes away.