I got a comment from someone I don't know! Today is a cool day! (Day 2 of the 30 days of 30 started out smashingly!) So, Sarah thinks I should create a kitchen compost as one of the cool things I do this month, and I am taking her advice.
If you want to try it too, Here's how:
Getting Started With Kitchen Composting
Anyone can start composting in their kitchen right now. All it takes is a container with a lid. Now there are plenty of commercial composting buckets, pails and bins you can buy of course - and there are even kitchen composter devices you can buy too. These are conveniences only though. They’re not required.
As I already stated, all you need is some sort of container with a lid. The size of the container you use will depend on what all you will add to the compost pile, how large your family is, and how much food you eat.
Easy compost bins I’ve used to start with in the past include: A glass storage/canning jar, a plastic ice cream bucket, an old insulated picnic cooler, and generic storage bins bought at places like Walmart.
By sitting a small container, bucket, pail or jar off to one side on the kitchen counter, you’ll be able to easily grab it to add things to as you’re cooking.
What Kitchen Scraps To Add
The kitchen scraps you choose to add to your compost pile will vary based on your family, your compost capacity, and your goals.
Most people who are limited on space for the compost piles tend to only add organic fruit and vegetable matter to their compost. When you’re cutting up an apple for example, the core and stem can be added to the compost bucket. Potato peelings can too, onion skins, tomato tops, etc.
Anything left over from fruits or vegetables - even if it’s already started going bad - can be added to your kitchen compost bucket.
Coffee and tea grounds should also be added to this bucket, because these make rich fertilizers. In fact, I’ve made kitchen compost with only coffee and tea grounds in the past and it works wonderfully. You can add the tea bags, strings and all, plus you can add the coffee filters too.
Paper is a wonderful addition to compost piles but not everyone adds much of it, particularly in the kitchen. I tend to toss in the paper package tea bags come in, and I’ll even tear up the cardboard box and add it to the compost bin too.
Now, most people will tell you not to add dairy products, cooked food, or meat products to your kitchen compost. I believe the primary reason for this is because you can end up with much more stink and smell when you add these things. Fruit and vegetable matter don’t really smell when they’re decomposing, but meat and milk do. These items can also draw the attention of bugs and mice.
I personally believe anything that can rot is fair game for adding to the compost pile. Admittedly I’ll toss the stinky stuff in the outside compost pile though, instead of putting it in the kitchen bucket. Compost only those items you’re comfortable composting, and you’ll be fine.
What Can’t Be Composted
There are things that cannot be composted though, so these cannot be added at all because they don’t break down and decompose. These are usually man made materials. Metal cans for example, won’t rot away and create compost for you, and neither will plastic bags or bottles.
Getting Finished Compost
If you’re using small jars or buckets to put your kitchen scraps and organic waste into, you’ll find that it needs to be emptied once in awhile. Some families need to empty the kitchen compost bucket several times each week while others get away with just doing it once a week.
To empty your kitchen compost container, simply dump it into a larger compost bin. This bin can be tucked away into the corner of the pantry, closet, or utility room if you don’t have a yard to put it in. If you do have outdoor space though, put a larger compost bin, tumbler or container outside. This way when you need to empty the kitchen scrap bucket, you can simply dump it into the larger one.
As the kitchen scraps break down and decay, they’ll take up much less space too. So even if it looks like your compost bin is starting to get full fast, you’ll notice in just a few weeks that it’s broken down and is taking up 1/2-1/3 or less space.
Getting finished compost can take time. There are a variety of things that come into play with the process, including what types of material you add to your compost pile, whether or not you’re adding compost activators, how much air the compost is getting, and whether or not you’re turning it regularly.
None of the above is actually needed to make compost. If you leave the compost pile to sit untouched, you’ll find it rich and ready in about a year. If you decide to take some of the steps to speed things up though, you can have some of the compost finished and ready to be used within 4-6 weeks.
Thank you Sarah for your suggestion. I'm going to get on it tomorrow!
*Mr. Tambourine Man- The Byrds