Composting 101- Space and Vessel

Composting is a really cool thing we can do to help the environment and our community. I know it seems a bit weird that it can help so much but it really can. Did you know, composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your washing machine produces in three months? That’s a lot! Plus you use less plastic garbage bags and your trash doesn’t smell. You may say, doesn’t it break down in the landfill? The answer is no. Air cannot get to the organic waste so it produces a harmful greenhouse gas, methane, which damages the Earth’s atmosphere and it’s super stinky.

Now that we have decided we want to be part of the solution we need to figure out what we need and where to put it. I mentioned I live in an apartment complex so most areas are shared. I certainly can’t just put a big tumble bin in the common area. There is a small planting area by my back door so I’m choosing that spot. This area is on soil and in a partly shady spot so it’s ideal for my composting bin. I sure hope the apartment managers think so!

Your situation is most likely very different so let’s go over other options. If you can, build one in your garden! Here’s a helpful video. If you must place your bin on concrete or paving, remember to add a thin layer of soil to get it started. This will help attract worms and other beneficial organisms. Also keep in mind some liquid might seep out of the bottom of the bin and stain underneath the bin and sometimes around it. Due to those reasons, you really want to try to avoid placing your bin on decking. You can easily put your bin onto gravel, whether it be in a gravel garden or on a gravel driveway or path. If you have a laid membrane beneath the gravel, you will need to cut a hole or slits in the membrane so that the soil-dwelling organisms can get through. If you get the tumble bin, any place it fits is suitable.

Now let’s look at vessels. As the video shows us building a bin out of recycled materials is the best option. As in my case I need to find a small pre-made bin at a local store or last resort, the internet. The tumble bin looks fun and easy but I don’t have the room. Can you tell I really want the tumble bin? Anyhow, there are other cool options like stationary bins, worm compost bins, multi-bin systems and all season indoor composters. Have a look at some great choices.

So I keep mentioning smell. This is a big question for me. Garbage stinks! Rotting food stinks! So if I intentionally put food in a bin in my yard isn’t going to stink? Marcie Snyder at says, “Nothing can be further from the truth. An earthy scent is normal and inoffensive, but a well-built compost shouldn’t produce unpleasant odors.” If there is an offensive order something is going wrong, Ms. Snyder offers these tips to help you trouble shoot.

Time to start creating our own composts! Over the next few weeks we will talk about what to put in your compost and what to keep out. What to do to help it along and the carbon to nitrogen ratio. And, of course, what we get out of it in the end, beautiful garden soil! I’m excited about my weekend chore, hope you are too. Happy composting and bChill.



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