Let These Kitchen Composting Tips Help You
Particularly if you live where winter snow and ice prevail along with excessive wind and rain, or where it is 95^ in the shade in summer, with not a drop of water in sight, the appeal of not having to trail your kitchen waste to the other end of the garden must be strong. Let these kitchen composting tips help you to organise a warm and dry composting winter and a summer with as few trudging, sweaty steps in the blazing sun as possible – yes compost indoors!
There are several tried and true methods of composting kitchen scraps indoors, some perhaps more acceptable than others, but all will result in our favorite ‘black gold’ and a good feeling that we are not adding to the local land-fill.
- do you live in a small apartment?
- do you have a garden?
- how much cooking do you do?
- how much organic waste do you collect?
- how can you utilize the compost you make?
If you live in a small apartment and do not have a garden, your need for compost is probably not great (unless you plan to give it away) and anyway, you may not have a huge amount stuff to get rid of.
However, it is still important to dispose of organic waste without resorting to use of land-fill, so how best to compost kitchen scraps? A small bench composter that tucks away in the corner of the kitchen bench or in a cupboard is ideal for holding your peelings in the first instance, until you are ready to add them to the bin where the actual composting happens. Some of these bins attach to the inside of a cupboard door, some have charcoal filters in the lid which prevent possible smells from escaping, while others, just ‘are’.
Which one you choose depends on how often you are planning to empty its contents and the sort of scraps you are keeping. A popular choice is a bench-top container with a lid and charcoal filters which will keep smells at bay for at least a day or two. You still don’t need that walk out to the end of the garden, though.
So – what’s next?
You need to decide what method you will use to turn these scraps into compost right there in your kitchen, or in another suitable indoor location. In brief, kitchen-wise, the choices generally come down to:
- anaerobic composting in a sealed bin small enough to keep indoors
- a worm farm
- a small conventional composting unit run by electricity
- Bokashi composting
My personal choice for the ‘serious’ stage is a Bokashi bucket. Many people will install a worm farm, but while I have a worm farm in my shed and I am very enthusiastic about it, I do not want my worms in the house. I have heard awful stories about anaerobic compost that has ‘gone wrong’ but have no personal experience of it and the electric composter is outside my budget and just sounds too much for my smallish kitchen. There are also some extremely poor reviews about it along with those that are extremely positive. No – Bokashi composting (or fermentation) suits me perfectly.
In case it is new to you, Bokashi is a process of anaerobic fermentation, or pickling and is an increasingly popular method of dealing with organic waste. I call it ‘easy’ and ‘clean’ because all you have to do is to drop your scraps into the bin, sprinkle them with a special bran that contains specific micro-organisms, compress everything and snap on the lid of the bin ensuring that it is air-tight.
When the bin is full, you leave it unopened for a couple of weeks before dealing with it as described below. Initially, the finished product is extremely acid and will burn the roots of plants exposed to it, so this initial process is often considered as ‘pre-composting’. In practical terms this means that you will need somewhere to finish off the second stage of the process which is ‘curing’. This can be either a garden in which you can bury the contents of the bin, an outside compost to which it can be added or a worm farm. Worms are partial to pickled veg.
This requirement can be a challenge in a small urban garden. Personally, I do not have enough soil to bury all the Bokashi I produce and I have only a small worm farm, so my outside compost bin is the recipient this amazing stuff and it sure gives the compost a boost when it is added. Notwithstanding the difficulties of disposal, I favor this method because:
- it is ‘clean’
- it allows me to add any organic waste, including meat scraps, bones and other items that usually are not recommended for cold composting
- it is a powerful addition to my garden ‘arsenal’ in that it is a nitrogen rich compost accelerator
- if it is done properly it does not smell
- the process is relatively fast
- it is easy to deal with in the kitchen
- any liquid that leaches out makes an excellent drain cleaner (so I am told)
The down-side is the need for a suitable way to dispose of the end result if you do not have a garden or a regular compost bin.
A few extra kitchen composting tips
If the disposal of Bokashi is not going to happen for you, a second thought about worm farming may be called for. Worm farms, in truth, need not be messy and are certainly fine situated in a laundry, garage or basement. (I guess I’m a bit picky). The beauty of worm compost (vermicompost) is that not having a garden is of no import at all. A small worm farm will produce just enough castings to ensure that your container-grown plants are well looked after and you must know that a gardener friend would be thrilled to receive a gift of any excess production. The compost made my worms is generally considered to be the most efficacious compost available and is highly valued.
Or – you could also consider a small compost tumbler on the back porch if all these ‘inside’ ideas leave you cold.
For more kitchen composting tips, click here
To learn more about Bokashi, check this out
To learn more about worm composting indoors, click here to get a down-loadable brochure