A waste of money?

After waxing lyrical about my bokashi composting system in the early days, I am now ready to accept its downside and move on. The final straw came this morning when I emptied the bottom of the regular compost bin to put the contents in the top.

I’d already noticed that the compost was being pushed out the hatch at the bottom of the bin: a telltale sign of rats. In the past, it has seemed safe to put bokashi solids in the bin at this time of year, so needless to say I was both surprised and disappointed.

I was even more disappointed when I saw

the rat’s entrance tunnel. I’d put bokashi solids in the ground next to the bin in preparation for the black currant bush I’m moving in the autumn. But it looks as though these have been gobbled down, unless the weight of the bin on top of the soil has simply caused the area to sink.

Now, to be fair, a lot of the contents from the bokashi over the last four and a half years have gone in the soil and not been eaten by hungry rodents. Likewise, the last batch of bokashi solids I dropped in the compost bin attracted no untoward attention. However, my overriding sentiment is that I’m throwing good money away, since the fermenter has cost me about £20 a year.

Incidentally, the company I was buying from seems to have ceased trading. Certainly, their website no longer seems to exist and they haven’t replied to my email enquiring if they are still selling their goods. So, by switching to a different way of processing any kitchen waste, I am not depriving them of an income.

Anyway, after much thought, I’ve decided the next kitchen waste composting system I get will be a Green Johanna. The bin is on the expensive side, so I hope it will last many years. On the other hand, as with the bokashi system, I will be able to compost all food waste (apart from bones) and unlike the bokashi, the Green Johanna will produce finished compost. So, no rat risk.

Has any used a Green Johanna and if so, how have you found it?

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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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14 Responses to A waste of money?

  1. Clare Pooley says:

    I have read about the Green Johanna but have not got one and know no-one who has. However, I think anything that composts all food waste and produces compost at the end must be worth a try if you can afford it. I am tempted to get one myself. Our local council used to collect food waste as they had a hot composter but with cuts and reductions in services they no longer do this and we have been advised to add food waste to the general waste bin. Admittedly we have hardly any waste food but it goes against the grain to throw even the smallest amount of food away.

    • Helen says:

      Leeds City Council started to collect food waste from my postcode – it was a trial which was going to be rolled out across all postcodes but then austerity kicked in and it never happened. I used to give my food waste to the collection but one day I needed to throw away some meat and it broke my heart, thinking of the animal’s life being wasted. Hence, my purchase of the bokashi. However, I soon realised that the bin would take forever to fill up if I was only going to be adding stuff which can’t go in a regular compost bin, so I started adding all kitchen waste (eg vegetable peelings).

      Anyway, at our most recent Composting Champions meeting, the issue of what food waste means came up and it was agreed this covered any kitchen waste, including readily compostable food scraps as mentioned above. Since most people don’t compost these and they can’t be put in the garden waste bin, it makes sense to encourage more people to either compost at home (by whatever means) or donate their food waste to a central hub.

      I like the idea of the Green Johanna because I can also compost my garden waste in it. This means I will have just the one composting system instead of two (currently, the garden waste compost bin and the bokashi). The Green Johanna should save me labour as well because it doesn’t need turning in the same way as a cold composter. And I’m hoping it will even kill seeds 😊

      • Clare Pooley says:

        Yes! I can’t use our homemade compost unless I bury it deeply under the topsoil, which is a waste of my energy, because of seeds. Even supposedly sterilised compost from the garden centre has seeds in it (as well as bits of plastic, thick rope, lumps of wood etc. Grrr…)

  2. Chocoviv says:

    Composting is an Art…

  3. I’m sorry you’re disappointed in the Bokashi system. It’s hard when you make a long-term investment. I have a more traditional composter in the back garden. We add kitchen waste, alternating with “brown” materials. We do have rats for the first time in many years. The compost bin is directly under the orange tree so lots of food sources nearby. Tessa loves to keep watch in the evenings for rodent activity.

    • Helen says:

      It must be fun for Tessa! She will be fully grown now?

      The bokashi system probably cost me about the same over the four and a half years I’ve been using it that a Green Johanna will cost upfront. But no doubt where the rats have not disturbed the products, so to speak, it will have added to the soil fertility, so all is not lost. The rats haven’t got into a patch I recently put across the other side of the garden and all the stuff in my latest bokashi bin (to use up the fermenter) will go in the Green Johanna 😊

      • Tessa brings us hours of entertainment. She is so funny and fun, full of mischief and very much her “own cat”. She turned two in May. I’ll have to share some recent pics.

        I’ve not heard of a Green Johanna but I’m off to look it up. You know anything we learn is good, even if it cost us something in the process, and gardening is at the top of the curve when it comes to learning new things.

  4. gaiainaction says:

    Thank you for the information Helen. I like the idea of a green Johanna too, but wonder if the temperature would be high enough during the winter. Thanks for sharing the info, will have a look at it for sure. I use the normal compost bin and the council here collect the cooked food which would be minimal anyway.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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