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Composting for Apartment Dwellers: Solutions for Limited Space

Composting for Apartment Dwellers: Solutions for Limited Space

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Composting is a great way to sustainably get rid of waste and obtain black gold for your garden. Many apartment dwellers get intimidated by the idea due to the smell and the small area.

Well, you can still compost in a limited space if you learn the basics of composting and get the best compost bins for apartments.

Many vermicomposting brands sell apartment kits for beginners. Yet, there are simpler, less expensive ways to compost your waste. So, keep reading to start your composting journey!

How to Compost in a Limited Space

Here’s everything you need to know about composting in an apartment:

1 – Invest in a Sturdy Bin

The most important part of your compost system is the bin. You don’t want to get a flimsy bin that’ll spill waste all over your apartment.

Additionally, lightweight bins won’t do much in terms of concealing the odor. Due to the limited space, you’ll also need a relatively smaller bin.

Fortunately, you can find numerous composting towers of various sizes. However, I find these to still be too large for apartments.

DIY-ing your compost bin is an exceptional way to customize the bin to your needs as well as save some extra bucks. Don’t worry, though! This project is as straightforward as it gets.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Start with two bins of the same size, ensuring they’re made from heavy-duty plastic.
  2. Then, drill a couple of holes into the bottom of one bin and stack the bins on top of each other.
  3. Fill the top bin with soil and ensure it’s well-packed so it doesn’t escape through the holes.
  4. Lastly, use an absorbent material, such as shredded paper, add your worms, and start composting.

2 – Build Your Compost System

Vermicomposting is a beginner-friendly process. After building the worm tower, just add your worms, which you can purchase online or in gardening supply stores.

Typically, you should add half a pound of worms per square foot of soil. Keep in mind that worms will breed and grow in the bin, so the fewer worms the better.

It’s completely understandable if you’re not keen on having worms indoors. Still, there are methods other than vermicomposting that I urge you to try.

For example, the Bokashi method involves the fermentation of organic waste with an inoculant, such as wheat germ, in a sealed space. You’ll still get the invaluable compost tea without any worms.

3 – Select the Best Location in the Apartment

Regardless of how sturdy or small your compost bin is, you must keep it in the appropriate location.

Apartments can run too cold for fermentation. That’s why it’s essential to place the bin in an area with plenty of sunshine.

Balconies are ideal. However, you can also put the bin near a window.

This location is also ideal if you don’t want to stink up your apartment with fermented waste. It’s tucked away, and you can keep the windows open for some fresh air.

4 – Compost “Clean” Waste Only

While composting is a sustainable way to get rid of waste, this doesn’t mean you can add just about anything to your bin.

Some food and organic waste lets out a pungent odor while fermenting. Additionally, these scraps are often harmful to your little hardworking worms.

My favorite scraps to compost are odorless, and they also improve the quality of my compost tea. These include:

  • Fruit and vegetable peels
  • Plant trimmings
  • Eggshells
  • Shredded newspaper and cardboard
  • Coffee grounds and filters

On the other hand, the following are items I’d never add to my bin:

  • Acidic vegetables such as onion, garlic, and chili peppers
  • Fish and meat
  • Dairy products
  • Processed wheat, such as white bread and pasta
  • Animal and pet waste
  • Greasy and oily food scraps

5 – Clean the Bin Periodically

Lastly, you must always keep your vermicomposting tower clean. Not only will you be harvesting the exceptional compost tea, but you’ll also be limiting the unpleasant odor.

You don’t need to completely empty both bins. Instead, the compost tea will drain onto the bottom bin, so it’s easily removable.

To clean the top bin, agitate the soil a little so the worms will travel to the bottom. Then, use a small shovel to remove worm castings, which also double as exceptional fertilizer.

Afterward, add extra soil, reward your worms with food scraps, and repeat the process every couple of weeks!

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