Indoor Composting

Indoor Composting
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Indoor Composting

Easy Steps to Composting Indoors

If you would like to compost but live in an apartment or an area where an outdoor compost bin is prohibited, you can still compost. Composting can be done indoors. The only indoor gardening supplies you will need are a hand rake or a trowel to mix the compost and a bin with a well sealing lid to hold the compost material. 

Your bin can be a plastic storage bin or even the 5-gallon buckets with lids which are sold at any of the big box stores. The advantage of both is they are relatively inexpensive, and they are stackable. 

They come in various sizes so a single adult will probably want a smaller bin than a family of four. Whichever container you use, add some small holes to the lid or the top of the container to allow air exchange.

How to Compost Indoors

Composting is the natural breakdown of organic material into compost. Because you are controlling the balance of materials, moisture content and aeration, the organic material will break down faster than in nature. 

Any organic material can be added to your compost bin. Things like kitchen scraps, peelings, apple cores, banana peels and plant clippings are great materials to add to your bin. Also, tea bags and coffee grounds can be added to the compost. 

This material is considered green material. Green material needs to be balanced with brown material, which includes dried plant material like fall leaves, straw or shredded paper from your favorite paper shredder. Lastly, you will want to add some water. The compost should be kept moist like a damp sponge.

If your compost dries out, the breakdown process will stop. If your compost is too wet, the material will become slimy and smelly. Kitchen waste has quite a bit of moisture in it so each time you add these scraps to the bin, throw in some shredded paper to balance it. It won’t take long for you to know how to keep the balance of wet to dry. 

The final step is to mix the compost regularly. Simply use your trowel to toss the compost like a salad. Once a week is probably enough, but more frequent turning will speed the process. If your compost container is a bucket, you can just roll the bucket back and forth to mix the ingredients. Just make sure the lid is on tight.

Using a Two-Bucket or Worm Bin System

As your organic material starts to break down, you may want to consider using a two-bucket or bin system. One bin will be for the partially composted material. You stop adding fresh material and allow the composting to continue until there is no recognizable material left. The compost should look like rich dark soil with a pleasant earthy smell. 

The second bin will be for fresh organic material to begin the compost process. You should continue aerating each bin individually every week until the composting is complete, at which point the compost is ready to use.

The easiest and quickest way to compost your organic waste is by using a worm bin. This is called vermicomposting. The process is pretty much the same as regular composting except there are a couple hundred worms helping the composting process. Most people aren’t comfortable with the idea of worms in their home, but it is another option for you to consider and will significantly reduce the time it takes to get the compost ready to use.

What Should You Use Your Compost for?

Once your compost is ready to use, what should you do with it? Compost is brown gold for plants including indoor house plants. Often the houseplants for sale are ready to be transplanted into a larger pot when you bring them home. This timing is the perfect opportunity to add your rich compost to the mix. 

Your existing plants will benefit from a top dressing of rich compost. You can use compost in your containers and window boxes as well. If you do have a garden, this compost will be a great addition to the soil. Any gardening friend or family member will be thrilled to be given your excess compost as you have done all the work.

Indoor composting is one of the best options to minimize your use of landfills, help you achieve a zero-waste lifestyle and,best of all, the resulting compost is the best additive for your soil.