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Home Composting: Get the Right Bin

By Amber Pollei, April 13, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Amber Pollei

Compost binThis post is the second in a series of three that will help you start a home composting bin. Check out the first post, The Basics, and then the read the next post, Use It!, which will help you put your compost to good use!

Compost bins come in all shapes and sizes. There are under-the-sink “smart” composters, giant outdoor three-bin systems, tumblers that take the guess work out of turning and even worm bins.

Bin It to Win It!

Say you have a small kitchen on the 17th floor of a downtown high rise. Can you compost? Absolutely. There are a number of smart composters on the market that fit neatly in a cabinet and churn out ready-to-use compost every two weeks — all while keeping the smells hidden away. These luxurious composters (which range from around $250 to $400) do it all and keep it clean, too.

Maybe you have an apartment with a nice patio, and want to keep your container garden outfitted with healthy compost. Bokashi composting and vermicomposting might be right for your smaller space. Scraps are collected and special Bokashi Bran is added, which helps the scraps break down anaerobically. Think fermentation for your compost. Bokashi composting takes a couple of weeks and it all happens inside a small bucket. Kits can cost between $30 and $50 and are perfect for small spaces.

Compost wormsVermicomposting is another small-space alternative, but not for the squeamish! Worm castings make some of the richest, most nutritious compost. Red Wigglers, a type of earthworm, are most common for home vermicomposting bins. A plastic tub of worms under the kitchen sink will happily take care of kitchen scraps and repay you with black gold for the garden. There are many DIY options for vermicomposting, so prices vary widely. Bonus: kids love seeing worms at work!

If you’ve got enough of a yard to have a compost bin, there are plenty options. You can go the path of least resistance and just start tossing scraps into a corner. Turn them over with a pitchfork every so often.

Have yard space but don’t want to DIY a compost bin? Try a compost tumbler, a cylindrical bin that can be turned with a crank. By turning it each day, the compost is able to decompose at a faster rate. There are also plenty of store-bought bins made out of sturdy, weatherproof materials that can be easily assembled in a yard.

But it doesn’t take much more effort to have an honest-to-goodness compost bin. I built my own with a few cheap supplies and wooden pallets (and a good amount of elbow grease). There are plenty of plans out there for larger compost bins, and building your own is a great weekend project.

So regardless of space, you can have a healthy compost bin. Are you composting at home? What kind of bin do you use?

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1 Comment

Comments

Compost King says ...
Home composting is a really worthwhile activity and no matter what the size of your home there is a method to suit. Composting with worms is a great idea for those living in apartments with limited space. A worm farm (commercial one) doesn't take a lot of upkeep and is easy to maintain.
04/22/2013 6:37:16 AM CDT