From scraps to treasure!
Composting is a process where organic materials such as food scraps are being broken down to become nutrient-rich components that are beneficial in many ways. And as opposed to popular belief, composting is not hard. Nor stinky.
Understand the basic process and principles of composting to start your own journey of bringing back some Earth goodness into the cycle.
Even in a small space such as your apartment, you can now do your own composting process! Here are some reasons why you should shift from throwing away organic wastes to composting them:
- If you are a plant parent, your plant babies will surely love the nutrient-dense plant food – the compost.
- Composting is a step to practice waste segregation. Less mess in the garbage – less gas from the landfills.
- Reduces the need for harmful fertilizers that may be transferred into food especially if you are getting your hands into vegetable or fruit planting at home.
What can you compost?
Basically, your apartment compost bin should consist of these 4 basics: Greens, Browns, Water & Air.
- Browns – This includes materials such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs.
- Greens – This includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds.
- Water – Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development.
- Air – The final ingredient for successful compost is … air! Make sure to turn compost regularly (at least every couple of weeks) with a pitchfork or shovel, and make sure your compost bin allows air to enter. Otherwise, your compost could become anaerobic, with a slimy appearance.
As much as we want all our waste to just disappear into goodness, there are some things that you cannot put into your composter. As a simple guide, here are what you can compost:
Your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens. You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the green materials provide nitrogen, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter.
What not to compost & why?
- Black walnut tree leaves or twigs – Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
- Coal or charcoal ash – Might contain substances harmful to plants
- Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs* – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
- Diseased or insect-ridden plants – Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
- Fats, grease, lard, or oils* – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
- Meat or fish bones and scraps* – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
- Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat faeces, soiled cat litter) – Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
- Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides – Might kill beneficial composting organisms
How to compost? Easy composting process at home.
These kind of composter units are designed to fit tight spaces so it can be stored in small space in your house or apartment, ideally in a corner in your garden, terrace or balcony.
Given that this composter sets already have everything you will need in the process (from gloves to remix powder & microbes along with a detailed instruction manual) ; just keep in mind these basic guidelines:
- Set up your composter, following the instructions indicated in the packaging. The first 2 or 3 bins is where the magic happens, while the bottom one will serve as the storage unit.
- Line a layer of remix powder at the bottom of your first compost bin before putting in your mix of green and brown waste.
- Always sprinkle some more remix powder every time you add waste into your bin.
- Once your first bin is full, it’s time to activate the microorganisms inside by adding some microbes and giving it a good stir.
- Repeat the same process for all the other bins, placing the finished compost in the storage unit to cure some more.
Here’s a video on the Daily Dump Gobble Composters:
Keep it easy by remembering to tend on your compost regularly, looking out for water condensations and dirt build up. Also, give it a good mix with a rake or shovel every now and then, hydrating your compost with water or dehydrating with some remix powder if necessary.
Using the compost to make your garden healthier:
Compost can act as a water-retaining mulch, a liquid fertilizer (called “compost tea”) and a lawn fertilizer.
- To use as a mulch, spread it in a 2- to 3-inch layer around flowers, bushes, trees and shrubs
- To make compost tea, steep a shovel-full of compost in a 5-gallon bucket for two to three days, and then pour the resulting liquid on your plants
- To fertilize your lawn, just add a 1- to 3-inch layer of compost to the grass, and then rake it to evenly distribute it. Over time, rain water will push the compost into the soil, feeding your lawn in the process
Tips and Tricks for easy compost solutions
Tip 1: Think twice before adding onions and garlic to your homemade compost pile. It is believed that these vegetables repel earthworms, which are a vital part of your garden.
Tip 2: Small fruit flies are naturally attracted to the compost pile. Discourage them by covering any exposed fruit or vegetable matter. Keep a small pile of grass clippings next to your compost bin, and when you add new kitchen waste to the pile, cover it with one or two inches of clippings. Adding lime or calcium will also discourage flies.
Tip 3: Unpleasant Odors from Your Compost Pile? Reduce or eliminate odors by following two practices: First, remember to not put bones or meat scraps into the compost; second, cover new additions to the compost pile with dry grass clippings or similar mulch. Adding lime or calcium will also neutralize odors. If the compost smells like ammonia, add carbon-rich elements such as straw, peat moss, or dried leaves.
Now you’re ready to compost at home! Time to save those beautiful fruit, plant or vegetable waste and turn them into amazing plant & soil boosters.
Is your compost storage piling up? Gift your friends some of that earthy goodness! Not only will they love it, but their home plants and crops will surely do, too!