What is A Compost?

Compost is a blend of organic material that is good for improving the soil and fertilizing it. Organic waste from fruits and veggies, mowed grass, and any other organic material you have is excellent for composting. Instead of your organic waste ending in a landfill somewhere, you can recycle organic waste into fertilizer for an outdoor garden. Compost in your kitchen is made in compost bins that are easy to make, maintain, and customized to fit your style and space.

Building Your Customized Compost Bin

A compost bin can be made of a range of materials from metal buckets, wooden bins, or plastic boxes. You will have to consider your available space for the bin, but most importantly, you will want an easily accessible bin to aerate it often. Conventionally, you should turn the compost regularly for proper aeration and decomposition. The only limit to the customization of your bin is your imagination. However, remember that compost is made by bacteria that need air circulation to work. Therefore, the structure of your bin will require some air holes. No need to worry though, an electric drill is sufficient to make a few holes to let air in and out.

A Step-by-Step Guide To Building a Compost Bin

Once you have settled on a container material:

  • Make about five equally spaced air holes on the lid of your compost bin. The air holes allow bacteria to breathe
  • For additional security, you can consider a thin wire mesh. The wire mesh prevents fruit flies and pests from interrupting with the degradation

Deciding on the Space for Your Compost Bin

The space for your compost bin in the kitchen should be in an easy to access area. The best compost is made from warm, moist, shadowed spaces. One of the best spaces you can consider is under the kitchen sink or a floor cabinet. You will want a lockable cabinet to avoid tiny arms or prying noses if you have little kids. A lockable well-aerated area is also good to lock in any foul smells from decomposing material.

What To Add To The Indoor Compost Material

For the perfect compost material, you will want to have a good balance of compostable material. The perfect balance involves having brown waste, soil, green waste, air, and moisture. Brown waste is essentially any carbon-rich material. Tea leaves, coffee grounds, dry grass or leaves, and newspaper or any other untreated paper. Green waste is nitrogen-rich material. You can consider vegetable waste, apple cores, old bread, banana peels, or other plant-based material. Avoid meat and dairy; however, you can incorporate eggshells. Meat and dairy give off unpleasant odors and are very likely to attract pests. All these are undesirable outcomes. After these two layers, a bit of soil to introduce the bacteria and a little water once in a while will do the trick. Remember, you want the compost damp but not soaking wet. A little soil at the bottom of our pile is also desirable. Make sure to stir your compost bin once weekly. Consider having a small hoe or garden trowel next to your bin to help you turn and mix your compost heap.

How To Avoid Making Your Compost Bin Very Dirty

There is a huge probability of your bin getting quite messy, considering most of its components are dirt. To minimize the mess, you can consider:

  • Putting a tray of any kind under the compost bin
  • A newspaper buffer in-between the tray and the bin works to collect any spills

Since most of the starting material in your bin is soil, you will need about a three or four-inch layer of soil to start. Conventionally, bagged soil is your best bet because the soil from outside your house may be deficient in the required bacteria.

Taking Care of Your Indoor Compost

  • For regular airflow, the holes you had made are sufficient, and turning the compost every so often is necessary
  • Remember to ensure that your compost heap is damp to the touch
  • Some additional soil or shredded paper can be a lifesaver since compost shrinks as it matures, and you may have to top it up
  • When you notice that your bin has started to smell, you may need to aerate it more and also take stock of what you add in next time
  • An extra bin may be necessary since sometimes your bin may fill faster than you expected, or the compost may take longer than expected to mature

Knowing When Your Compost Is Ready

When your compost is ready, you will notice that it appears dark in color like regular soil. Your compost should appear crumbly, and most importantly, none of the ingredients used in composting should be recognizable. A mature compost pile will also have significantly shrunk. A mature compost heap is about half the size it started as. Also, consider how the compost smells. Mature and ready compost has an earthy smell, like soil. If your compost smells like ammonia, it is not ready yet. Finally, ready compost should be at the same temperature as the air. When the compost is too hot or warm, it is not ready yet. Even though having indoor compost can be a bit labor-intensive, it is an efficient way to recycle. The beauty of compost is you will get manure to use in your kitchen garden or for your lawn. Using compost is one sure way to go green. Consider starting a compost today.