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For the Composting Beginner: Tips & Tricks

When we were newly married, I really wanted a compost bin in our kitchen, despite having no yard! It was on our registry and I got it!  Kids came, schedules got busy, and the compost bin went away.  Recently, though, my family has started to use a kitchen compost bin again for three reasons; we’re more mindful of our waste, we love watching science in action, and my kids understand recycling in a brand-new way.

While our garden is contained in pots and our yard doesn’t house a big bed of vegetables, composting is still something worth pursuing.  Bins have become so friendly to our kitchens and with the charcoal filters there’s no excuses about smell.  There are even companies who will take your compost away for you, so where do we begin?

If you’re like me and just getting started – or starting out again – here are some tips.  

First, decide if you want to manage everything or end up using a subscription company like Compost Now.  Compost Now actually gives you a bin, swaps it out with a clean one each week, and you can earn compost or choose to donate it to local farms! You can find out if it’s in your area and what’s great is this company works with offices and restaurants too!  Another similar company is Compost Crew.  A simple search will help you find companies that do the dirty work for you if you’d like to help the Earth without getting your hands dirty!

Second, consider the size.  Since we’re kitchen composting I knew we needed a small bin like this one.  A charcoal filter was crucial for me to lock out the smell and I was a bit concerned with the appearance!  This may sit under my sink but more likely it’ll be on the counter for all to see! 

If you’re composting for a larger space and aren’t using a subscription service, you’ll want to look into big bins.  There are so many options available now but I definitely recommend getting one that turns like this one or something that goes in the ground like this Subpod

To get my compost bin set up I purchased compostable bags. This makes any transferring of the compost super simple and mess free!  Since my bin is small, I’m not pursuing adding worms right now, but if you have a bigger bin worms are compost’s best friend!  Who knows, maybe I’ll let the kids add some from outside to help aid the composting process!

Remember why you’re doing this! Composting helps in the reduction of greenhouse gases, reduces our waste and I know my plants will love it!  My kids are becoming more mindful, too, of everything we throw away each day!

Since I’m just composting from my kitchen for plants outside, I need to remember what I can compost and consider how long the food scraps will take to turn to usable compost.  With more scraps these days it’s good to use a blender to help aid in breaking down the scraps whenever possible.  Remember not to blend any pits, but otherwise most fruits and vegetables are fine to blend a bit before placing in your bin.

Know what you can compost!  A simple rule is that if it’s from the ground it’s probably fine.  Avoid dairy, meat and bones.  Vegetables, fruits, coffee grounds and filters, plant leaves, tea bags and tea, leaves and grass clippings are all fine.  

Once the bin is full and since we don’t have a large space for a compost bin outside, nor are we allowed to have one thanks to our HOA, we’ll dig a hole and add the compost then pile the dirt back up.  Since our bin is small we may not see actual soil at this point but that’s ok!  Covering the natural materials in a layer of dirt will help deter any animals from smelling the compost.  That area is now deemed my rich soil location!

Remember we’re new at this.  Who wants to check back with us in a month and see what progress we’ve made?!  Will we still be sticking with it?  How will the soil work outside?  I’m going to continue to reach out to local farms and friends in the meantime and see if any of them would like some of our food scraps too!  

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