Tips for Indoor Composting

Ever given any thought to starting your own indoor compost at home?

Maybe you’re interested in stepping up your gardening game a bit or tired of relying on chemical fertilizers?

Or perhaps you just want to do your part to help lower your carbon footprint and reduce harmful methane emissions from landfills?

Whatever your reasoning, if you haven’t already, it won’t be long before you realize just how COOL composting really is.

We’re diving deep into:

  • The benefits of composting
  • Setting up your compost station
  • Compost can-do’s & can-don’ts
  • Extra tips & everything in between

Feel free to consider yourself compost royalty after this read. 

What Exactly is Compost?

Compost is essentially organic materials that can be added to soil to help with plant growth. Food scraps and yard waste currently make up over 28 percent of what we throw away and should actually be composed instead of tossed. 

The Benefits of Composting

Making composts will keep these organic materials out of landfills where they release methane (greenhouse gas), and let’s be honest, really just take up space.

  • Composting provides so many benefits, not just for the environment but also for the composter, especially if said composter (cough, cough) just so happens to enjoy gardening. 
  • Your compost will enrich your soil by helping in retaining moisture and suppressing plant diseases and unwanted, pesky pests. 
  • Composting also encourages bacteria production (the good kind) and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus. 

Harmful chemical fertilizers? Hmm, nope, won’t be needing those! 

Setting Up Your Indoor Compost Station

So, this may not be what you want to hear….but we’re going to tell you anyway because you have the right to know…

The easiest way to compost indoors is a worm binBUT it’s not the only way. 

First things first, you’ll need some prime real estate for your composting station. One example might be underneath your kitchen sink for easy access. 

Next, we’re looking at containers

Indoor composting containers can range from simple but sturdy plastic containers to swanky electric food recyclers. 

Click here for a detailed list of the best indoor compost units on the market! 

While buying a container specifically made for composting may be a bit easier, you can just as easily make your own using plastic storage bins, large buckets, wooden crates, metal bins, or garbage bins. Take your pick! Just remember whenever container you choose needs to be covered! 

Once you’ve chosen your container, you’ll need to poke some holes in it

The type of container you’re using will ultimately determine how to get your holes. If you’re using a metal container, for example, you’re more than likely going to need to drill those bad boys in. 

The holes need to be both on the bottom of the container as well as a few around the rim. 

Next, all that’s left is to add a layer of dirt (amount based on how much use it will be getting and the size of your bin) and some dry items ( like newspapers) on top! 

Let the composting begin!

Indoor Compost Can-Do's

Your compost bin should contain these 3 basic ingredients:

  1. Browns: Dead leaves, branches, and twigs
  2. Greens: Grass clippings, veggie waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds
  3. Water

Your compost should be equal part browns and equal part greens.

 It’s always a good idea to layer your organic materials of different-sized particles as well. 

Your brown materials will provide carbon for your compost, green materials: nitrogen, and the water will provide moisture to aid in the break down of organic matter. 

Most food scraps such as fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, and houseplant trimmings are all great materials to put into your indoor compost bin. 

Indoor Compost Can-Don'ts

You’re going to want to avoid putting any kind of meat, dairy, or fat products into your indoor compost. 

The reason being, especially in terms of indoor composting, your compost pile is most likely not going to reach a high enough temperature to kill off the pathogens. E coli bacteria, for example, can live for up to two years. That’s definitely not something you want hanging around inside your house or infecting any sort of produce you are using your compost mix to grow! 

Particularly smelly materials such as onions and watery foods like melons and squash are also better left out of your bin as well. 

Pro Tips!

  1. Create a ‘dry stash’ of paper scraps, newspaper, and dry leaves to add to your bin after adding food to keep it from getting soggy & provide carbon!
  2. Turn the contents of your bin often (about once a week) and add a half scoop of new soil. This helps to warm up your materials and increase microbial activity and avoid sogginess and dry spots. 
  3. You might want to have an extra bin on stand by for when your old one gets full and hasn’t completely broken down.
  4. If the bin starts to smell, it means the balance is off, and you may need to add more newspaper or add extra holes.
  5. Chop your materials into small pieces – smaller items will break down faster.
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