The No Nonsense Composting at Home or Apartment
One of the best and easiest things to do for successful home gardening is to practice composting. It's a great way to recycle your kitchen waste while providing wonderful nutrients to your vegetable garden. When you think of composting, the first thing that might come to your mind is the stench of rotting organic matter or a super complicated setup that looks like it's bursting with fumes. Don't let that scare you from composting. There is a simpler and much easier process for composting that anyone can get started with. So my goal in this article is to share a mess free process for composting right at your home or apartment.
In this process, we are targeting simplicity as opposed to speed - meaning you are not going to get compost within a couple of weeks, however your process of making the compost is less messy. With that out of our way, here are my step-by-step instructions for beginner and small space gardeners.
Equipment and Setup
It's a fairly easy process to get your equipment setup for composting at home. The three things you will need are:
Outdoor bins with lockable lids (we bought these 12 gallon bins from Target)
Kitchen compost bin (we got this compost bin from Amazon)
You are going to need a minimum of 2 outdoor bins, one for filling and the other for resting. Your requirements may vary, as in you may need a 3rd bin depending on the size of your family and the amount of kitchen waste you accumulate.
Now that you have the equipment, begin by drilling holes in your outdoor bins to help with air circulation. First drill some holes into the bottom of the bins. Once that is done, drill some more holes either on the top or top-side of the bin. I prefer top-side as seen in the photos below to prevent rain water from getting in. (It rains a lot in Florida).
You are almost set. Now fill the bottom of the main bin with either some shredded paper like we do or with dried leaves. And then add a small layer of compost from a previous batch (to speed up the process). If you are just getting started and don't have prepared compost, no worries, just add a bit of soil.
You are all set with the prep work. Now it's time to build some simple daily habits.
Collect your days kitchen scraps (egg shells, vegetable scraps, fruit peels etc.) in the smaller indoor kitchen compost bin. Once a day, empty the indoor bin into your outdoor bin. As you start accumulating enough waste in your outdoor bin or when you feel its time, add a layer of brown material (be it dried leaves, cardboard or shredded paper).
Repeat this cycle until the outdoor bin is full. Once in a while, monitor the moisture content by mixing it up, make sure the mixture is not too wet nor too dry. Sprinkle some water or brown material as needed. Once the first outdoor bin is full, leave it to rest and let nature work it's magic. While it's resting, repeat this process in your second outdoor bin.
It usually takes a month or two initially before your compost is ready for your garden. However, once you develop a cycle of collecting and resting, you are going to have a constant supply of compost.
Here are some tips that may help with successful composting process.
Generally, any issues with composting are caused by an imbalance in brown and green matter. So just make sure that you are keeping an eye and add additional materials as needed.
Heat plays a big part in speeding up the composting process. Make sure your bin is located in an area where it get plenty of exposure to the sun.
You can also add things like dryer lint, used toilet paper rolls, used ground coffee (keep it limited), tea bags etc.
Definitely lock the lid on your outdoor bin to keep those trash pandas from making a mess.
That's all from me and hope this was helpful to you. Peace !!!
On a side note, if you already are an experienced gardener, please leave your ideas or suggestions in the comments section below.