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Friday, June 12, 2009

Indoor compost bin

By Eilleen
Consumption Rebellion

I really enjoy reading all the gardening posts here on the Co-op. I'm just about to start my journey on learning how to grow veges and its great to read everyone's tips and experiences with gardening.

While I have not really been gardening, one thing I have done for years has been to compost. To be honest, I didn't really know what I was doing. I just put organic scraps (minus meat scraps!) into a black bin...and that's it. The bin never got full and after about 2 years, we just dug out the bottom part of the bin and spread the soil on to the (non-edible) garden. Reading through Compostwoman's article on composting, I realise now that the composting I've been doing is called the "cold" method. And I now know that's entirely normal for the compost bin to never get full and for it to take up to 2 years to get some soil out of the compost bin. For a wannabe gardener like me, I find knowing this reassuring.

Anyway, for those who are starting their journey into gardening, I thought I'd share my indoor compost bin with you which I make out of newspaper. You can see it next to my sink in this picture (circled in green):

I get the free local community newspaper once a fortnight and after I've read it, I fold the sheets into my compost bin. The origami fold that I use is shown here:

But instead of using an A4 sheet, I use two layers of newspaper broadsheets. Once its full (which it is in the picture below), I just pick it up and throw it in my compost:

Sometimes, I empty contents into the compost and put it in the recycling bin instead. But I only do that 'cause I wasn't exactly sure how to use my compost bin. Now that I know about the "hot" method, I might just start throwing it the compost bin all the time. ( that its winter, will the hot method work?)

Anyway, as I said, I'm only just starting my journey into vege gardening. If you have any tips at all for me I'd love to hear them!


Nina said...

We put our organic waste out with the yard waste and I just ran out of the cornstarch bags we use so I can't wait to try the newsprint bin. We too recieve a "free" newspaper that we can't seem to stop.

Joanna said...

My problem with getting waste out to the compost bin is not having a good, easy to clean container to do so- newspaper is the perfect idea! Thanks!

Accidental Huswife said...

Wow, that's an incredibly tidy approach. Impressive!

jaz said...

the only problem is i think you can only use black and white. no colored newspaper because of the chemicals!!!

comfrey cottages said...

eileen, i like you, never knew exactly how to go about composting. my hubby, after my insistence, started putting the leaves, etc in one pile, but it kept growing, with the occassional non meat things from my garden. i learned about comfrey being a natural wonderful accelerant for my outdoor pile and now i am growing comfrey in my garden, both for making healing salves, their beauty, and just the week put the first leaves in the pile outdoors and raked through it. my next thing is to get hubby to help me chicken wire some sort of bin so when i have to turn the compost i don' get it all over. i love this neat tidy way to compost indoors and then transfer to the outside pile. this would be cool because i don't want to have to walk to the back fence everytime i have an eggshell to add. now you have shown us a wonderful new technique. i will post about how the comfrey works in the compost for me as i progress in my journey toward composting to. i have to guess my outside pile has just been cold processing, like you mentioned, and hopefully the comfrey will add the heat to hurry the process. thanks for the good article! hugs leslie from comfrey cottages:)

comfrey cottages said...

i blogged about this and refered folks here to your article to learn more eileen!

Jenn said...

I really like this idea - very simple, effective, and elegant use for something that I have lying around anyway. I'd love to use my weekly grocery store fliers for this.

Compostwoman said...

What a REALLY good idea!

I shall add this to my list of things I talk about on displays and show stands, if you don't mind?

It is a really neat idea!

And glad you found my post of reassurance ;-)

Dia said...

What a fun idea! I got a small 'step trash' can months ago that I use for inside compost - & sometimes add some shredded paper (as Jaz mentioned, B & W, as the coloured papers may contain lead & other heavy metals) love this neat trick!
One of my clients has been digging her scraps directly into the garden, I've done that in the past, & that's a neat way to incorp. organic material without trying to get the compost to 'work' :)

Rinelle said...

What a GREAT idea. I've been using recycled plastic yogurt containers for taking out the compost, but this idea is much better. No dirty yucky containers to deal with afterwards! (My daughter also loves me making her little paper boxes for putting her treasures in.)

Melinda said...

Eilleen, hot composting will work even in winter, although it may take a bit longer to heat up. With the hot composting you need to make it all in one hit though, and make sure you've got enough nitrogen in there to get it cooking.

BTW, if you want some comfrey root (in spring) let me know. I've got several plants here.

Eilleen said...

Glad you guys liked my compost bin! Thank you for saying so! Being new to all this, I have always hesitated in talking about stuff I don't know too much about.

jaz - thanks for the tip! I'll have to be more choosy re: what pages I'm using. Its good to know that colour would wreck my compost.

comfrey cottages - thanks for the tip! off to read your blog now.

Compostwoman - of course! I'm flattered to think that my idea is good enough to be included in your stalls.

Dia - thank you for the tip of digging scraps straight into the garden. I may have to try that too once I truly get going.

Mel - thanks for answering my question. So I guess I'll have to set aside another part of the garden - one for my cold composting (because it suits me and my years of habit) and one for my hot composting for my future vege garden.

...oh and may have to help me with how to use comfrey. :)

Kari said...

I just found your site and have a question about composting. I have no idea what I'm doing. I live in an apt. and have a yellow pepper plant and some herbs on the balcony. I started throwing egg shells, lemon rinds, veggie stems,etc. into one of those large yogurt containers hoping it will compost. I looked in it today and it's all moldy inside with some black bits.Is this composting or am I doing it all wrong? Will it turn into something I can use on my plants?

Rebecca said...

I absolutely LOVE it! The perfect solution. No smelly, mouldy plastic containers!

Anonymous said...

You may be able to use SOME colored newspapers,... IF they are colored with vegetable dye, that is. Call the publishers office and ask about they use for dye.