What is a soil factory?
A soil factory is a place where you produce high quality nutrient rich soil. It’s your go-to place for compost and potting soils. It’s just like your bag of shop-bought compost but it’s home made and you know exactly what has gone into it!
How will a soil factory help in my garden?
A soil factory provides a great place to put your bokashi pre-compost throughout the year but can be especially useful during the winter and summer months. During the winter my ground is often too frozen and hard to dig a trench to bury my pre-compost. My soil factory provides a great place to put my pre-compost and serves as a great source of fantastic compost when spring comes around. During the summer months I like to use every possible space to grow fruits, veggies and flowers and it can be hard to find a spot to bury my pre-compost. So, once again, I turn to my soil factory for my bokashi pre-compost. I then simply go back to my soil factory whenever I need compost. Its really just like a small, portable, low-maintenance compost pile.
How to make a soil factory?
Making a soil factory is easy. There are a number of different methods for making a soil factory. Below are two of the methods we have found to be successful; using a container or burying in the ground.
Using a container
Step 1. Find container
Find yourself a large plastic box with a lid. Drill a few holes in the bottom to let liquids escape. If your soil factory will be positioned on impermeable ground (such as a patio, garage or balcony), then do not drill holes in the bottom.
Step 2: Add garden soil
Next, put 3-4 inches of regular garden soil at the bottom of the container. *Tip* Try to use healthy soil with lots of life in it. The more worms and grubs the better!
Step 3: Add your bokashi pre-compost
Then you are ready to add your bokashi pre-compost. Empty the contents of your fermented bokashi kitchen composter to the container, making sure to break up any large lumps of pre-compost. Add another couple of inches of regular garden soil and mix slightly with a garden shovel.
Step 4: Add more garden soil
Add a few more inches of regular garden soil and place the lid on the container. The final mix of soil : bokashi pre-compost : soil should be about a third, a third, a third. The depth of each will obviously depend on the size and dimensions of your soil factory.
Put a couple of stones on the lid to weigh it down, if needed.
Step 5: Wait
Leave for 2-4 weeks and check your soil factory. It may take slightly longer for your pre-compost to break down in your soil factory than when using the trench method as there are fewer worms and other soil biota in your soil factory. Colder temperatures may also slow down the process too. You can speed the process up by chopping and missing the contents of your soil factory every week or so. Be patient, the pre-compost will break down and you will have a soil factory full of great compost.
Step 6: Use compost or add more pre-compost
Feel free to add more pre-compost to the top of your soil factory. Remember to mix the contents each time after adding. Remove compost as needed. Remember, if you expect to need compost within 2-4 weeks, don’t add any fresh pre-compost to your soil factory. If you want a regular place to put your pre-compost and a place to constantly get compost then we would recommend setting up two soil factories.
Burying in the soil
Making a soil factory in the soil is really a combination of the above container soil factory and the regular trench method for burying your pre-compost.
Step 1: Choose an area
Firstly, choose an area in your garden that you don’t need for planting in the coming months.
Step 2: Bury your pre-compost
Next, use the trench method to bury your pre-compost. Rather than planting directly into this area, use this area for collecting compost to be used on the rest of your garden.
Step 3: Make a grid pattern
You can set up a grid pattern if you have the area is large enough. Add pre-compost in rotation to 3-4 areas in your soil factory area. This gives you a regular place to bury your pre-compost and a constant supply of compost. It also has the added benefit that you don’t need to plan your planting schedule around when your pre-compost will need to be buried.