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Video: How To Make Compost In An Apartment For Zero Waste
No longer wanting to deprive yourself of your cherry tomatoes and your favorite spices, you are looking for the trick that will allow you to enjoy even in winter the famous tomato soup flavored with basil. Despite the limited space, you have already built your vertical vegetable garden, but how do you get away with the heavy bags full of potting soil that you have to climb up the stairs. Of course, it won't be in no time, but it's not impossible. Are you eager to know our stuff? Well, to serve fresh vegetables to the table, learn how to make compost in the apartment.
How to make compost in an apartment for flowers and vegetables
With so many “pyramids” of dead leaves in the garden, you wonder how to reuse them. Surely, as a child, you remember a family compost heap in a corner of the garden or the DIY wooden composter housing the pruning twigs. and the remains of the mowed lawn. In six months, the stinking black earth decorated with vegetable peels, eggshells and bare apple pits, teeming with worms, turned into a fragrant soil that was being prepared to scatter on the rose bushes. You frown, not believing that a battery like this can work in an apartment. Since not all composts are created the same, think again. If you have ever rejected composting due to a lack of outdoor space, know that today's composters are streamlined and odorless,offering options even for the smallest apartments. Even delicate, the question of how to make compost in an apartment can prove to be crucial for avid gardeners.
What are the advantages of composting?
While you may not have peonies that require a regular diet of nutrient-dense fertilizer, composting has other benefits. Not only can apartment dwellers use this black gold to feed houseplants and patio containers, but it will ultimately reduce household waste and prevent it from descending to the dumpster. The “zero waste” policy has been in place for about twenty years and is giving good results in businesses and homes.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food is the biggest ingredient in household waste. Currently, more than 35% of the average trash can is filled with kitchen scraps - waste that could be diverted from the landfill.
Why is diverting leftovers important?
When dumped in landfills, organic waste generates methane, which doesn't happen when you compost. Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas that increases the rate of global climate change. In fact, many municipalities offer curbside collection and composting programs and get carbon credit for their efforts. Despite this, around 95% of food scraps are still thrown away. To help cut emissions and divert your share of organic waste, apartment composting is the answer. Fortunately, there are several ways to compost at home. The type you choose depends on your situation.
Option one: worm composters
Worm composters, also known as vermicomposters, are one of the most versatile options available today. Small, portable and fast, these composters process household waste quickly, producing a nutrient-dense "worm tea" suitable for houseplants, flower boxes and planters on your patio.
Despite the back-breaking work that is often required for compost piles in the garden, the great thing about worm composters is that they don't need to be turned over. As a rule, organic waste does not decompose quickly without being mixed, but since the worms turn for you, the main job is to feed them regularly and give them the conditions they need to "work"..
Namely that worms have an important place in every ecosystem. These legions of tiny diggers include more than 5,000 species and, according to Charles Darwin, humans would not exist without them: “It is doubtful that there are many other animals that have played such an important role in the history of the world. like these modestly organized creatures."
Why compost with worms?
The good news is, you can harness this incredibly efficient composting power for yourself and change the way your family disposes of waste, with very little investment in time and money. A homemade worm composter is a luxury worm hotel. If you consider the cost of buying organic fertilizer for your garden, even the most expensive composter could pay for itself in one growing season.
Of course, you will no longer have to ask yourself the question "How to make compost in an apartment?" »If you follow the vermicomposting method (vermiculture). Thanks to it, you will produce a natural and odorless compost which takes around 30 minutes per week to maintain.
Homemade screwworm composter
The most ordinary homemade screw composter consists of a plastic bag perforated with holes (drainage holes at the bottom and ventilation holes at the top) and filled to one third filled with damp, shredded newspaper. If you have the space, a better model uses two stacked bins - the perforated top bin on the bottom for drainage and for moving worms.
This version has two important advantages. First, you always have a place to add kitchen scraps, even if one of the bins is full. Second, the worms will make their way between the bins by crawling through the holes from one to the other to access the bin with fresh, ready-to-compost leftovers. This means that with a two-tier model, you can harvest the finished compost in a bag without having to separate the worms from the ground.
Ready-to-use screw composter
If you don't have the time or the inclination to make your own auger composter, there are several ready-made models on the market that work well in apartments. Made from recycled plastic available in three colors, one such model features four stackable trays, a worm scale, a vented lid, and a tap for siphoning "worm tea." The design ensures odorless decomposition and offers plenty of space for your daily waste.
Where to get the worms?
In most cases, you will need to buy the small diggers. Red "wigglers" are the most effective compost worms and are widely available from most suppliers. Worm composters work well indoors or on a small balcony, offering temperatures between 5 and 27˚C. The worms will not survive a deep frost and should be brought indoors when temperatures drop. Worms should also be protected from overheating and drowning, so be careful of direct sun and rain. Worm composters work best if you have a steady supply of shredded newspaper or other carbon source to cushion the high nitrogen content of your kitchen scraps. You can add kitchen scraps permanently to your worm compost, although having multiple bins or tiers means you never have to separate the worms from the finished compost. Composting by worms is the best solution on a small scale and in small batches.
Second composting option
If you're lucky enough to have a good-sized balcony, or if you can get permission to use your building's roof terrace or any common area, you have another compost option handy: containers. metallic. Larger than worm composters, these containers are fully sealed to preserve the heat generated by your compost, thus increasing the speed of decomposition. They are fitted with a handle or other rotating mechanism to help aerate and mix the contents. Some work so quickly that they can process household waste in 13 days. Because they are sealed, compost containers avoid the common pest problems associated with compost bins. Rats, raccoons, mice, and other creatures cannot enter it. They are therefore suitable for urban areas preoccupied with pests.
While metal containers are fast and efficient, they are too big to use indoors. This means that you still need a place to store your compost until you are ready to take it out. In an apartment or other small living space, the average compost bucket can quickly ripen and start to smell, unless you empty it daily. To reduce potential odors, choose a stainless steel or ceramic bucket with a tight-fitting lid. Adding a carbon filter will help absorb unpleasant odors.
Is a compost container right for you?
Installed in an outdoor location with easy access, this type of composter usually takes up more space than the worm one. Some models require more clearance than others to turn.
Since at some point you will have to stop adding leftovers so that the container can fully digest the previous ones. This means waiting two to three weeks or more, depending on your location, before you can use it again. To solve this problem, some metal crates have two compartments so that you can add kitchen scraps on one side while the other is composting.
Third option: domestic food digesters
Electrically assisted composters have come a long way in recent years. These breadmaker-sized devices grind and heat your organic waste into a dark, dry fertilizer. And while they don't technically compost your food waste, they turn it into something perfect for your patio planters or rooftop garden beds. Excellent for minimal space, the home digester turns food waste into a dry, odorless fertilizer, useful for planters or pots on your patio. Digesters process everything from avocado pits to chicken bones overnight.
What to put in your apartment's compost?
Whichever type of composter you choose, there are a few guidelines that you should follow when adding garbage inside your composter. It is extremely important to balance leftover vegetables and fruits rich in nitrogen with the carbon inputs, both to speed up decomposition and to avoid unpleasant odors.
Use finished compost
Even if you grow houseplants or seasonal patio containers, you could end up producing more compost than you can realistically use. Here's the good news: No matter where you live, finished compost is usually scarce. It's a gardener's dream and everyone wants more.