If you’re like me, you often have vegetable scraps left over at the end of the week – wilted lettuce leaves, brown bananas, and droopy carrots – stuff that you just can’t use. Most folks just throw these scraps out without a second thought. These leftovers don’t have to go to waste though; consider a kitchen compost bin!
Uninitiated composters have a variety of misgivings about composting, i.e. you need a back yard for composting, compost is smelly, and composting is a lot of work. You might be surprised to find how simple and efficient composting can be.
There are a variety of options for kitchen compost bins. Some require a little more attention, others are pretty much automatic. Whatever you choose, kitchen composting is fairly inexpensive to set up, it doesn’t take much work to maintain, and your plants or garden will love you for it
Vermicomposting, or worm composting, is one popular method of maintaining a kitchen compost bin. It requires a little attention, but it is cheap and effective. The composting work is done by redworms (or red wiggler worms), which thrive on food waste and organic materials. You can find these worms at bait shops and some garden centres, or you can order them online.
To set up your worm compost, you’ll need a box or bucket with small air holes. Fill the box with a bedding of damp paper shreds, grass clippings, or shredded cardboard. Add a little soil or sand, and keep the bedding damp (but not wet). As you add scraps of fruits and vegetables, the worms will turn the waste into compost.
Vermicomposting is odourless, and your bin can fit right under a kitchen sink. You’ll need to keep your worms fed, but with care, your bin could last for years.
Technology has risen to meet the surge of interest in home gardening and composting, with indoor hot composters. Hot composters are automatic kitchen compost bins that are small enough to fit in a cupboard. They don’t require attention, and they can produce small amounts of high-quality compost every two weeks or so. Once the waste is added, the whole process is automatic until you empty the compost tray. While this method is pricier than others, it is convenient, efficient, and tidy.
A third popular method is Bokashi composting. Again, this kitchen composting method doesn’t require much space, and neither does it need much attention.
The Bokashi method works through the introduction of microorganisms. The starter culture (usually in the form of bran or chaff inoculated with microorganisms) is mixed into kitchen refuse, and the microorganisms go to work decomposing the waste materials. Every two weeks or so, you’ll have extremely effective fertiliser ready to use.
Indoor composting can be extremely handy, especially in cold weather. While a kitchen compost bin can’t handle nearly the capacity of an outdoor compost pile, all of these indoor methods can produce a surprising amount of compost in a very short time and make use of organic material that would otherwise go to waste.