Rubbish to Riches: Adventures in Composting

I’m embarking on a new adventure this week. I set up my first compost bin. Living in a condo and then NYC apartments, I’ve never really had the space. Now, I still don’t have much space which is why I haven’t set one up sooner. When I think of composting, I think of the huge open compost pile my parents had in Texas or people using huge industrial sized garbage cans to store their compos. Then it hit me this week – why couldn’t I use a storage tub? I googled it and found several posts of people who had done that very thing. I had an empty tub in the basement. So, I set it up this morning in about an hour.

First, I drilled holes in the bottom and all around my tub.

Next I covered the bottom with some shredded newspaper and then added all the dried out dirt from my old flower pots. I poured in a couple of cups of water and then stirred my scraps – broccoli stems, old cilantro, coffee grounds, tea leaves, banana peels, dryer fuzz and dried leaves. You want to keep it moist but not wet. If too welt it will rot and stink. If too dry nothing will decompose. I hope I can keep the right balance.

I found this nice 1-gallon, stainless steel compost bin to keep in my kitchen. I’ve looked at them before and never wanted to put out the money. This one was $11 on Amazon so I figured it was worth the risk. It had a charcoal filter in the lid to keep the smells in for when I can’t get my scraps outside right away.

I set the compost bin on the shady side of the house just outside the kitchen door. I figure I’ll be more likely to keep my indoor bin emptied regularly with it nearby. I set it up on bricks to help with air circulation and I put a tray under it to catch any liquid and use as “compost tea” on my plants.

The fact that all these things that I would normally throw out will hopefully result in rich, fertile soil is amazing to me. I’m excited! Let the adventure begin.