Do you like the idea of composting but haven’t tried it because it seems too difficult?
You don’t have a garden and feel it will be too smelly or messy in an apartment?
Here is a guide on how on how you can start composting at home and turn your kitchen waste into “black gold”.
In this article I will share some practical tips from my experience composting in a Bangkok condo.
What is Composting?
Composting is the natural decomposition of organic matter. Beneficial bacteria will break down organic matter, which is anything that was once living.
Composting is the degradation of biodegradable organic matter by aerobic bacteria, then fungi and then a whole microfauna, in the presence of air and humidity. This process will produce an amendment that will enrich the soil.
Everyone can create a powerful fertilizer that allows life to grow. How? It’s very easy, but there are a few rules to follow to ensure optimal success.
How does it work?
Kitchen waste and garden waste are made up of biodegradable organic material. In nature, organic matter, of plant or animal origin, breaks down naturally to allow plants to grow.
In a compost bin, the same principle as in nature applies. The waste decomposes in the presence of oxygen and water, thanks to micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, etc.) to transform into compost.
Why Compost at home?
Composting is a great way to limit your waste and give back to the earth what it has produced.
Did you know that kitchen scraps currently make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away, and could be composted instead?
Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
By collecting some kitchen waste and mixing it with your garden waste, you can make your own compost that will be used as fertilizer for your plants. You will thus reduce the weight of your trash and prevent this waste from being sent to the landfills!
Benefits of Composting
Compost is a great way to use kitchen and garden waste to produce a soil amendment, fertilizer and green manure.
How to compost in an apartment?
Yes, composting in an apartment is possible, even if you don’t have a balcony! Fear not, as long as your compost is well balanced it will not smell and will not attract pests.
There are several pre-made composting options on the market, you can choose based on your needs and budget. For example here (Note: I haven’t personally tried this product).
I initially started my composting journey in Bangkok using worms (vermicompost). I now compost without worms with the same successful results.
I created my compost bin with 2 simple plastic storage boxes. It was a cheap, effective and fun to create solution.
How to create your own compost box?
- Select 2 identical storage boxes, making sure one box had a lid. An important point to note is that boxes should be able to stack in each other.
- Then drill small holes at regular intervals across one of the box (all sides and bottom). The holes are made to create air circulation and allow for extra liquid to drain if needed.
- Place the box with drilled holes inside the other box and you are ready to start composting!
Composting step by step
If you are composting for the first time, you will need to add some soil into your composting bin.
- Add 50% of green waste (any wet waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps, the, coffee grounds…)
- Add 50% of brown waste (any dry waste such as carton, dry leaves, paper towels…)
- Cover the compost bin with its lid and place it in a shaded area (avoid direct sunlight)
- Mix regularly to ensure airflow
- After a few weeks your waste is transformed into compost!
Congratulation you have just made 100% natural fertilizer!
Composting indoors is re-creating a natural ecosystem.
Maintaining balance is the key to success.
What to compost?
What NOT to Compost?
These items may your compost smell bad and attract animals and pests. Avoid these items for a successful compost pile:
How to know when your compost is ready?
The compost should have a homogeneous appearance, a dark color and a pleasant smell of peat or earth.
The waste it totally decomposed. Ready to use compost is crumbly and relatively fine in texture.
How to use compost?
Compost is used when the plant needs it most, especially when revegetating.
Collect the compost to nourish the soil of your garden, houseplants or repot your flower pots…
Composting is an easy way to repurpose kitchen scraps and other organic materials into something that can help keep your plants thriving. It also reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.
Don’t wait, start your own compost now!