Making an indoor compost is easier than you think, and, since you’re here I imagine you already know how absolutely beneficial it is for your plants and garden, not to mention the fact that you take less garbage to the curb or dump every week.
It is true, you can easily create beneficial compost inside an apartment – using an indoor composter. In fact there are a few ways to go about it – with a small worm factory or with a portable, electric composter that creates ready to use compost in half the time of a standard, outdoor, composter.
Yes its true and believe me two years ago I would have laughed if you’d told me I’d even suggest having an indoor composter to another person, but since I’ve discovered that it is virtually mess and odor free, I can’t help but want to share my findings.
The entire ‘operation’ just tucks away under your kitchen sink and provides you a practically carefree means to using up vegetable matter. If you have long winters and a larger home (we have long winters and a moderately sized home) you can keep the bin in the basement to free up your kitchen cupboard space. However a good bin won’t really take up that much space anyway.
So do you want to know how to make your own indoor compost?
You’ll start with an Indoor Kitchen Composter as it is the most effective method of fermenting food matters through anaerobic fermentation. Anaerobic composting is the most efficient manner to creating compost – odor free. The entire tub tucks away under your sink or in a storage closet, out of sight.
What do You Need To Know to Get Started?
When creating indoor compost you want to choose your container and method carefully. There are a few ways to compost indoors depending on how involved you would like to be in the process and what you plan to use the end product for.
If your plan is to create a compost in your kitchen to eventually transport to an outdoor space for finishing, you only need an airtight container by your sink or under your sink to store the food matter. There are some beautiful models available today with air tight, filter-fitted lids so you’ll never need to worry about fruit flies or nasty odors again.
If you’ll be keeping your kitchen waste indoors for more than 3 weeks you’ll want to get a composting container that has tight-fitting lids and carbon filters to reduce any smell emanating from the compost. I bought my first one online at Amazon – indoor Bokashi composter – and it is still one of my personal favorites. We keep a few going strong in the long winter months here so expect a few short reviews on other models and methods over the next few weeks.
Using a Kitchen Composter
Modern technology has now evolved for the tech-savvy crowd which allows you to use a specifically designed kitchen composter that fits under the sink and has a tight lid to reduce odors. Some of these bins use an internal computer which determines and adjusts ideal compost temperature, mixing the materials inside and regulating air flow. It is so efficient that it produces usable compost every 10-14 days.
A less high-tech version is the indoor composter that utilizes worms. The worms eat the food scraps and create what is known as worm castings. This waste is nutrient rich, healthy food for your garden or house plants. The red wiggler worm is the worm of choice and they can be purchased online or even found in your garden if you know what they look like. I’ll help you identify them in a later post.
You’ll need about 500 worms for every cubic foot of compost container. You do want to be careful to not forget these new ‘pets’ and to feed them every few days. 500 worms will happily eat through 1-2 pounds of food scraps every 7 days.
What to Feed The Indoor Composter
Compost will have an odor if not maintained and it certainly will have an odor if fed the wrong materials. I always avoid meat scraps (even in my outdoor compost) and this includes bones as well as dairy products. I also steer clear from potato peelings and watermelon rind for indoor compost as they’re hard to break down. Garlic and strong-smelling cooking onions are two more that I hold out on for the indoor composter. Perhaps I’m just overly cautious – I know other people who compost practically everything in their indoor bins.
What I do feed are fruits and vegetables past their prime, peelings, cores, stalks and leaves. I also add my used tea bags and coffee grounds. I use the caffeine waste sparingly though – I have been known to drink large amounts of coffee during some writing spells and too much of any one thing in your compost may upset the balance of nutrients. Bread crusts, leftover rice and pasta are three more perfect additions.
How to Use Your Indoor Compost
If you are in an apartment, condo, or townhouse and without a garden you can mix your compost into houseplant soil or make a compost tea for your plants. Two tablespoons of compost mixed into a gallon of water is a healthy way to water and feed your plants at the same time. We even have a name for it – Compost Tea!
You’ll read more about all of these options inside. Just choose a post title at right that you think might interest you to learn more about composting.