I’ve currently got a box full of vegetable peelings, tea bags, fruit peel and coffee grounds sitting in my kitchen. I normally do, and it varies in states of decay dependant on how long it takes me to fill up the box. Sometimes the contents are fresh, dry, odor free. At other times I am very happy that it has an airtight lid. But why do I do this? Well, simply because homemade compost is amazing.
And you don’t need a garden to compost. In fact, you don’t even need a balcony – I have friends who compost using worms right in their kitchen. All you need is a dedicated space which you can use to cultivate the bacteria or worms to break down your kitchen waste.
You can compost simply by filling a bucket (with a lid and a couple of air holes) full of kitchen waste and mixing in the odd bit of cardboard (1:2 ratio of green waste to cardboard). The cardboard is there to both maintain the soil structure and absorb some of the liquid that will be produced in the process. This is essentially what a compost heap will do. The bacteria in the pile will breakdown the kitchen waste and before long you will have compost that can be mixed back into your soil.
If you are doing this on a small scale, also consider maybe a couple of buckets, which you can alternate between using.
Compost can also be made in spinners if you have a bit more room. This simply helps air to circulate through the pile, and helps the compost to breakdown faster. They are bigger than the bucket method, but what they lose in size they make up for in speed. I had one of these in London, and they sped up the process by a considerable amount of time so I didn’t feel so bad about handing over a large portion of my garden to them.
Worm Composting aka Vermiculture
Vermiculture is just a posh name for using worms to breakdown your kitchen waste. You can get incredibly bogged down in the science of this, or you can do what I did; find an Instructable, make a wormery from some IKEA boxes and begin the experiment. Two years in we are now owners of a bunch of happy worms that munch through our kitchen waste at a rate of knots. They also produce organic fertilizer which saves us the expense of buying general liquid plant feed. In case you were wondering, that’s what is in the bottles holding down the lid!
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Composting is important because it not only helps remove kitchen waste from landfill, but it also helps you produce free, organic soil in your own backyard [read: kitchen/balcony/rooftop]. By increasing the micronutrients of your soil, you also increase the health of it, and healthy soil means happy plants.
So how do you deal with your kitchen waste? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.