21-day lockdown – Day 2 – Burying food-waste in the garden

21-day lockdown – Day 2 – Burying food-waste in the garden

Before we get onto day 2’s topic, (and following on from yesterday’s article), I thought I would show you a picture of a butternut that overran our rain gauge. As Ryan ‘dryly’ puts it: the best thing about this butternut is that it’s protecting our rain gauge from the elements!

Now that we’re all staying at home and finding new ways of living, many of us might find ourselves spending more time in the kitchen, preparing and cooking food. This, of course, is a good thing, because the more food we prepare ourselves the healthier our lives are going to be. Preparing and cooking our own food allows us to control exactly what we are putting into our bodies, and provided we are making healthy choices, can only be a good thing for us in the long run.

But now that we do have more time to prepare and cook food, we might also find we have more food waste coming out of our kitchens. Peeling, cutting and chopping will leave us with a small heap of food waste, which for most people might simply mean a heavier – and smellier – load of rubbish.

Food ‘waste’

But did you know you can bury much of your food waste in your garden, and in turn enhance the quality of your soil? Not to mention clear yourself of a smelly bin!  In areas where there is a large and undesirable rodent population, it’s a preferred practice as opposed to putting food waste on a compost pile.

Burying food waste is practiced all around the world, and there are different methods, but the basic principle remains the same:

  • dig a hole in your garden, (we dig to about 40-60cm deep)
  • bury your food scraps, including peels, chopped ends, leftovers, egg-shells, any mould-free spoiled vegetables you might have in your fridge, and even tea bags or coffee grinds
  • cover the soil back over the scraps, and gently stamp on it to level it

The food waste will then begin to slowly compost in your garden, helping to enhance the quality of your soil and creating a healthier garden

But what if you don’t want to dig a hole in your garden after every meal?

In this case you’ll need to store your food waste somewhere, and that’s where a Bokashi Bin can be useful.

Bokashi composting is a Japanese system to help ferment food before it is buried in your garden, which has a number of benefits both for your garden and for the environment. Essentially it allows you to store food waste for an extended period without having any unwanted smells in your kitchen, and the process is simple to follow: 

  • put all your food waste in a plastic Bokashi bin and spread a thin layer of Bokashi bran over it
  • close/seal the bin
  • repeat the process until your bin is full
  • dig a hole in your garden and empty your bokashi bin food waste into it
  • cover the hole with the soil

The composting process proceeds from there.

Bokashi bin with food waste

Bokashi bin food waste with a layer of Bokashi bran

We add most of our food scraps to our bokashi bin, including cooked leftovers and bones, and it has significantly reduced our waste output, waste that would otherwise end up rotting at a landfill site. There are even some plants that we have buried our waste directly beneath before planting them, such as this young African Dog Rose (Xylotheca kraussiana).
(Thanks to Sanbi’s Plantzafrica for the tip: “An excellent way to give this plant a good start in life is to plant it in a hole that has been used for your biodegradable kitchen waste.” – http://pza.sanbi.org/xylotheca-kraussiana)

So next time you find yourself preparing food in your kitchen, consider burying your food waste in your garden, rather than throwing it in your dustbin. Not only will you be enhancing the quality of your soil, you’ll also be helping the environment.