We all wonder what is one action that we can do to become more "green". That may be a daunting question and can often result in leaving us confused and with a feeling of helplessness. One thing that you can do, that can make a world of difference is composting.
So here is a few easy steps specially designed for reduced space in urban settings
Construct a bin for your compost. Depending on your space you can choose different style's of composting but today we will focus on reduced spacing so if you live in an apartment you may count with a balcony or a small porch. You want to choose a compost style that is compact and that keeps the pile private. For this choose containers such as storage bins for composting. You want to make sure you start off with at least 2 storage containers one shorter than the other. Choose the size of the containers most appropriate for your space.
You may want to have a platform to raise your compost bins above floor level at least by 1 foot in case you want to add a spigot to your compost bin for easy liquid drainage. Some concrete blocks can work very well or this.
Feel free to get creative and use any other recycled materials or resources that may already be around you or the living space instead of the concrete blocks. You will also need an extra pair of smaller bricks or rocks to go inside the base storage container, these will support the compost bin that goes inside the first bin to allow spacing and proper drainage. Make sure that whatever you decide to use as your platform is sturdy enough to sustain a heavy load.
Follow Instructions bellow.
- 2 8-10 gallons storage bins (one shorter than the other in height)
- 1 bag of red wiggler worms (optional) ( will make the process faster and nutrients richer)
- 3 Concrete (blocks for platform)
- 2 bricks or rocks ( for separation and spacing of the stacking)
- Drill bits (medium and large)
- Spigot ( from the hardware store)
- Sealer (for the spigot not to leak)
1. You will have to drill holes in one of the the bins all around the bin, bottom and sides for aeration. Use a medium sized drill bit for this.
2. On your other bin you will drill only one larger hole to fit a spigot in the bottom front side, to catch the excess liquid from the compost which serves as a fertilizer. Ask the hardware consultant to help you choose a proper drill bit for the spigot you choose. Insert the spigot lock and seal if necessary with a liquid sealer for plumbing uses. Adding a spigot to your liquid catching bin is optional it makes it easier to collect the bio fertilizer but you may skip it this step if you decide to do it the harder way. In that case you would then remove the upper bin periodically to collect your liquid by pouring it from the bin into a bucket.
3. Choose the spot where you will place your compost bin. Make sure it is well ventilated.
4. Make your platform by laying the 2-3 concrete blocks or what ever other platform material you chose to lift bin from the ground. Choose the designated space and place the blocks in a row to support the back, front and the center of the compost bin's underside. The platform is only necessary if you decide to add the spigot other wise you can skip this and have the bin on the floor.
5.Place the compost bin with a spigot over the concrete blocks.
6.Place the 2 smaller bricks or rocks inside of the 1st bin (the one with the spigot) this will be to support and allow spacing from the bin that will go inside.
7. Stack your 2nd storage bin the one with lots of holes inside of the 1st bin.
8. Now make a layer of (carbon) consisting of newspaper, mulch, leaves, straw, and any dried plant material and non colored paper product inside of the stacked compost bin.
9. Follow with a layer of (nitrogen) food scraps or green plant material from juicing etc.
10. Cover the fresh material with more dried plant or paper material (carbon).
11. Sprinkle with fresh soil to activate microbial life. And quicken the break down process. If you choose to add worms go for it and make sure not to put citrus, onions, tomatoes, or pineapples the contain acids and may hurt the worms
Remember this is the type of waste products you want to place inside your compost
- Nitrogen: Weeds, fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, and grass clippings,
- Carbon : paper waste non colored, dried leaves, mulch, straw etc.
Remember to always have more carbon (dried stuff ) than you do nitrogen (wet stuff) 3 to 1 ratio. To maintain a balance and the smell under control. If your compost is ever to dry you may ad just a bit of misted water over the top. And if your compost is ever to wet you can add more dried plant material to absorb the smell and liquid.
You will also want to make sure that you regularly aerate your compost bin about once a week by stirring your compost with a shovel. Allow time for decomposition! depending on how often you stir the compost may take up to 6 months the more you stir the faster it gets done. If you have worms it maybe sooner every compost is different. When it is ready you may carefully harvest black soil from the bottom of your bin
Some of the benefits from composting are :
1. Improves soil structure
2. Increase nutrient content
3. Use less water
4. Ward off plant diseases
5. Compost helps cleanup (remediate) contaminated soil
6. Compost helps prevent pollution ( by keeping food scraps out of landfills this avoids the production of methane and leachate. Which one is a green house gas contributing to global warming and the other produces leaching toxic by products into the water through run off )
Enjoy the magic of compost !