Tag Archives: compost

Compost Bin Voucher Program – San Diego County, California

 

This post will be geographically specific to our location, but maybe for those of you outside our area, there is a compost bin rebate or voucher program available as well. I will say that this program was not very easy to find, and this is why we decided to post about it.

Josh has been wanting to buy a real compost bin for a while. He tried to use a compost heap, but that didn’t work out. We looked at some compost bins and tumblers online, but we were a bit put off by how expensive they were!

I had seen something about a compost bin voucher program in a Dixieline ad, and I showed it to Josh. It wasn’t very clear how it worked, so he decided to go to the Dixieline by our house and see if they even had compost bins there. He didn’t find any. So I decided to do more digging online and realized that there was an application you had to fill out online first before you could buy the compost bin at the discount price.

The compost bin voucher application link differs depending on where you live in San Diego County. We are in an unincorporated area, so I went to the San Diego County website.

Click here to go to the Compost Bin Voucher Application for San Diego County

All we had to do was fill out the application so they could verify if we qualified and wait for an e-mail that gave us the voucher for $40 off a compost bin. You could get $40 off vouchers for up to 2 of each type of compost bin: the classic compost bin and the can of worms compost bin (which I am assuming is for vermicomposting). There are only two Dixieline locations where you can redeem the vouchers for the County of San Diego, the Escondido location and the Rancho San Diego location.

Here are a few other links for those in the City of San Diego, La Mesa, and Del Mar.

Click here to go to the Compost Bin Voucher Application for the City of San Diego

There are 3 compost bin options for residents of the City of San Diego. Please note that the voucher redemption locations for the City of San Diego are different than those for San Diego County.

Click here for more information about the Compost Bin Voucher Application for the City of La Mesa

La Mesa has a different method of application and receipt of the voucher. You either mail in or drop off the application, and your voucher is mailed to you in 2-4 weeks.

Click here for more information about the Compost Bin Voucher Application for the City of Del Mar

Those are the only 3 other cities I found in a quick Google search. There may be more opportunities that I just did not see.

Our final cost was around $100 for two of the classic soil saver compost bins. Hopefully, in about two months, we will have good dirt for Josh’s garden beds.

Josh will be taking over the post from here, since he is the one who went to pick up the compost bins. I just took care of the online application for him.


We live closest to the Rancho San Diego Dixieline, so that is the one I got the compost bins from.  As Lynn said, I didn’t see any regular compost bins the first time I went to the Dixieline.  At that time they did have a couple of the worm compost bins.  I would imagine they don’t sell as many of those since people don’t usually want to deal with worms.  When I went to the store on Saturday there were probably about 8 of the compost bins, some of which had come from a different store in El Cajon.  If you don’t live close to either the Rancho San Diego or Escondido store, you may want to call ahead to verify they have the bins you want.

The cashiers in the store are unable to give you the discount.  You have to go to what I believe is called the Pro Center usually located near the middle of the store.  This is the place where you also order wood and other large products.  This is typically a slower desk because they are working through special or large orders.  Make sure you give yourself a few extra minutes in the store in case someone is ahead of you at check out.

– Joshua

 

 

 

Bokashi Composting

I hate to waste food and kitchen scraps, but I have found that I am bad at traditional composting.  Partly I think it is our dry hot summers that cause the compost pile to dry out, quickly cancelling out the composting processes.  Thankfully, I discovered Bokashi which allows me to use our kitchen scraps and the food my kids don’t eat to better my yard.

I have read that Bokashi is a Japanese word meaning fermenting organic matter.  Since I don’t know Japanese I can’t confirm that, but I do know that the waste scraps do ferment in the bokashi process.  Bokashi isn’t true composting as the waste will look the same at the end of the process as when you used it in your kitchen.  Bokashi is an anaerobic fermentation process that essentially creates worm food.

When doing bokashi, you will need a container for the scraps and some sort of bokashi bran.  There are expensive bokashi buckets with spigots for sale, but I just use a plain 5 gallon bucket.  The spigot buckets do allow for removing the excess liquid in the bucket.  The liquid is good for plants and the process is supposed to work better without too much liquid.  So far I haven’t seen any problems with using a plain bucket.

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The bokashi bran is some sort of bran with special microbes in it.  I buy my bran mix from Teraganix.  I have also bought the microbial inoculant from Teraganix to make my own bran mix but haven’t used it yet since I bought 4 large bags of the premixed on sale.

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To me, the best thing about bokashi is that I can use almost all of the kitchen scraps and waste.  Meat, dairy, and citrus cannot be used in traditional composting.  Meat and dairy fester and smell horrible when put into a compost pile, but in bokashi they ferment just like everything else.  Most people say that too much citrus in a compost pile is bad for a variety of reasons such as changing the acidity of the compost pile or killing worms.

To start the bokashi bucket, I put in several crumpled sheets of newspaper to soak up moisture with about a quarter cup of bokashi bran.  After that food scraps can be added as you get them.  I add about an eighth of a cup of bokashi bran every inch or two of scraps.  It is important to keep the scraps in the bucket well compacted, I typically use a plate to smush it down but will use some newspaper every so often.  This allows the anaerobic process to work better, and of course allows more to be put in the bucket.

food scraps in bucket

food scraps in bucket

bokashi bran on the scraps

bokashi bran on the scraps

Once the bucket is full, the bokashi needs to sit for around two weeks.  After the resting time, it should be a bucket of lovely fermented food scraps.  It will smell fermented, so when you open up the bucket, do not be surprised if there is an odor.  It shouldn’t smell rotten, I would say it smells somewhat yeasty.  You will need to have a place in your yard to put the bokashi.  It needs to be buried in the ground so worms and such can eat it and turn it into something good for your plants.  If you bury it too shallow, animals may be attracted to it.  I have had a raccoon get into my buried bokashi before.

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finished bokashi in a hole in the ground

finished bokashi in a hole in the ground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things you can put in the bokashi bucket other then the typical food

  • newspaper in moderation.
  • napkins/paper towels if no chemicals are in them
  • meat/fat
  • bones if they are small like some chicken bones
  • coffee
  • egg shells
  • I read dryer lint can go in there but I have found the lint in my yard later

There will be most likely be white mold on top of your bokashi after the two weeks, but that is ok.  If you ever see green mold growing then that is bad.  To fix that you need to dump a quarter cup of the bokashi bran onto the green mold.  That should clear up the mold, but you may need to add more so keep an eye on it.  Never put anything that has already started to mold into your bokashi bucket, the green mold isn’t good for the process.

Using bokashi for our kitchen scraps has greatly reduced the amount of food that we just throw away.  Rather then going to a landfill where the food sits and is wasted, we are now using it to make our plants grow better.  This is even better when the scraps we are recycling are vegetables from our yard.  We are creating a sustainable garden that uses its own waste as fertilizer. Bokashi is also great for suburban yards because there is no smelly pile that will disturb the neighbors.  No matter how small your yard or garden bokashi might be a great way for you to reduce your waste and grow better plants.

-Joshua

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