Now that we're staying at home more often (after Covid-19) and finding new ways of living, many of us might find ourselves spending more time in the kitchen, preparing and cooking our food. This of course is a good thing, because it allows us to control exactly what we are putting into our bodies, allowing us to make healthier choices.
But if you are spending more time preparing and cooking food you might also find you have more food waste coming out of your kitchen. Peeling, cutting and chopping will leave you with a small heap of food scraps, which ordinarily might mean a heavier - and smellier - load of rubbish.
Adding food waste to your ordinary bin load will likely mean it will end up in a landfill site, where it can rot and ultimately be detrimental to the environment. So rather than throwing your food scraps away, a better alternative is to bury it in your garden, where it can slowly break down into compost and enhance the quality of your soil.
Burying food waste is practiced 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 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 can store your food waste in a Bokashi bin.
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 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 significantly reduces 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 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 away. Not only will you be enhancing the quality of your soil, you'll be helping the environment.