Compost Tips Please | NAAEE
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Compost Tips Please

Hi friends,

I received an email today from a friend asking for advice on best ways to do kitchen scraps collection --> outdoor compost bin. Rather than share with her the minimal knowledge I have, I thought I would take advantage of the collective eePRO expertise.

How do YOU avoid bugs indoors? What's been your best purchase? Does the freezing method have any issues? If you vermicompost, how do you handle the extreme heat? Is the bokashi method as perfect as it seems?

Thank you in advance!

I don't compost myself, but I do freeze my food scraps until I'm able to take them to the municipal collection site in my town.

I would also recommend they ask their local gardening club/Facebook group for advice in case there is any location/climate specific advice. Hope that helps!

For indoors, dump the compost frequently and use a mesh filter if it's a vented receptacle. Always make sure to mix and bury well when adding to the compost - it discourages scavengers and helps things breakdown quickly. I have done some vermiculture and I found the challenging balancing temperature and humidity, but will defer to those more knowledgable.

Good Day There!
The best approach for a good kitchen compost result is to ensure that the compost piles are at the proper temperature and good moisture balance to ensure a fastest break down of leafy greens, inch cubed bread leftovers and any other items, such as diary products (these later are slower in the break down process though).

You will also need to cover any composting kitchen scraps so animals don’t dig them up.

I totally agree with the above, and would like to add a couple of other suggestions that we tested back in the 80s and 90s. If space and time are not an issue, there is always "cold composting" which is also known as the lazy composter. Add the food scraps to the compost pile and lightly stir it into the pile. And let it go. No need to turn. Cold compost is much slower than active composting, but you do not have to worry about turning. But it does take MUCH longer for the waste to become humus. Also, a carbon filter for the indoor container can go a LONG way to making it much better to accumulate the food waste. And whenever you add the food waste to a compost bin/pile, if you have any of the brown material it helps to mix it with the food which tend to be nitrogen or "green" and need the carbon.

HI, I am by no means an expert and can only comment on what we do here at our home. I will say, that after moving every 2-3 years and needing to create a new system each time, I have found a few things that work for us. BUT the key is to try a few things to see what works for you/them. It may take a few tries before you find the perfect system. I learned that the more complicated the system the harder it is to maintain and keep my family engaged with- so keep it simple.

Indoor Collection: We keep a stainless steel stockpot, with a lid, under the sink for scraps and dump when full. Because it is lidded and inside a cupboard, the bugs we attract are minimal and since it is small and we empty often it doesn't sit around long enough to stink.

Outdoor compost pile: In the past, I have used the drilled hole Rubbermaid tub, purchased premade black bins, and also taken to a store that composts. My current system is a 3 sided box make of pallets, lined with chicken wire and removable slats in the front to help keep it contained as the pile gets taller.
(similar to link photo but with pallet sides)

Adding to: We try to maintain a 1/3 green (food scraps and fresh grass cuttings) and 2/3 browns (shredded papers, leaves, cardboard boxes, sticks, etc.) ratio of materials. But in reality, we just add some browns after a few dumps of the bucket. I have a garbage can with a lid where we store our browns until we need them. Then we occasionally stir to mix it up.

Rules: I don't allow animal products in the compost. No fats, oils, dairy, or meat (maybe a few bits and bobs of egg or cheese when we scrape the plates but nothing major). As those types of food scraps attract bigger critters. It also slows down the decomposition process.

There are lots, TONS, of resources out there on composting how-tos and best practices. I hope you find what works for you. The bottom line is to just start. Every little bit counts.