No matter how much meal planning you do or the various things you do to reduce your food waste, at the end of the day you still have food scraps. You probably aren’t going to be eating your egg shells, banana peels, or coffee grounds, but you don’t have to toss those in the garbage to be sent to the landfill. Starting a compost bin can not only reduce your household waste but you can also create some nutrient rich soil for your plants instead of using chemical fertilizers. Home composting doesn’t have to be a stinky trash can under your sink or a heaping pile in your backyard. With a convenient electric composter like Lomi, you can quickly and easily compost your organic materials right in your kitchen with the push of a button. Feel free to click on one of the following categories to help get you started on making your very own homemade compost:
- How to start composting: 5 steps to begin
- How to start composting at home: 4 easy methods
- 5 resources to help with starting compost at home
Composting is the process of organic material decomposition. If you're ready to get the composting process started, let’s start at the beginning. We'll look at the steps it takes to take you from food scraps and yard waste to finished compost!
How to start composting: 5 steps to begin
You probably have a rough idea of how to compost, throw your food scraps in a pile and watch them decompose. While your food waste will eventually break down, composting can be a little more complicated than that (like making sure you are balancing your carbon materials with your nitrogen rich materials). It is not a super complicated process, but there are a few basic steps to follow. While it's not as easy as just throwing whatever organic matter into a compost pile, following these steps will help get you a finished compost pile in no time.
- Choose your composting method: There are a few different ways you can compost depending on your current space. We’ll go over those in the next section if you need help deciding which method is right for you.
- Purchase products necessary to produce compost: Depending on the method you chose, you’ll probably need to buy some equipment to get started. You might need a compost tumbler, enclosed bins, or other tools to manage your compost.
- Collect your green and brown materials: This one’s pretty easy! Simply collect your composting materials- food scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings, dry leaves, cardboard, sawdust, or any other organic material you have.
- Layer, layer, layer: Now that you have your materials, start layering your green materials (nitrogen rich materials like coffee grounds) and brown materials (carbon rich materials like cardboard) so that your compost can start the composting process.
- Wait, mix, repeat: How long you wait depends on the temperature. You want to make sure you turn your compost pile roughly every seven to ten days to help the decomposition process along.
After a little bit of time, you will be left with finished compost that you can use in your garden beds or donate to your local community garden.
How to start composting at home: 4 easy methods
You might be wondering what the best way to compost is. Well, that can depend on a few things. There are a few different composting methods that you can use to get the composting process started and depending on your living situation, you might not be able to have a traditional backyard compost pile. Maybe you’re looking for something that’s a little less work and want the composting process to be as easy as pressing a button. Whatever your circumstances, there is a composting method for you. Let’s look at four composting methods to get you started.
1. Indoor composting
If your living situation doesn’t allow for an outdoor compost pile, don't worry! You can always compost indoors. Composting indoors can be super simple! First, you will need an indoor compost bin like a plastic storage bin, a five-gallon bucket, or another similar container with a lid (you need to be using enclosed bins when composting indoors). Make sure you find a container that allows for airflow (or drill some holes in the top or side to allow oxygen to circulate inside.
Since an indoor compost bin won’t likely get as hot as an outdoor one, you will want to make sure your kitchen scraps are chopped as small as possible and turn your compost often to allow airflow and increase microbial action. You also want the right ratio of brown and green materials to avoid excess moisture and proper
- Choose an enclosed compost bin that fits your space
- Fill your bin about three-quarters of the way with damp brown matter (brown paper bags, newspaper, dry leaves)
- Sprinkle in a cup or so of garden soil on top
- Add in your composting materials (coffee grounds, banana peels, cardboard egg cartons, etc.)
- Turn your compost about once a week
2. Lomi electric composter
Composting in the kitchen can be great, but it can also come with some foul odors. If you don’t have the outdoor space for composting, but don’t want to deal with the maintenance of an indoor bin, an electric composter like Lomi is a perfect option! It breaks down your food scraps and approved bioplastics in a matter of hours and you're left with nutrient rich soil. You don’t have to wait months and no smell!
- Fill your Lomi to the fill line with your kitchen scraps
- Hold the button down to make sure it is in grow mode (this is good for your plants)
- Add in your Lomi pod
- Push the button and let Lomi do the work
3. Outdoor composting
One of the easiest ways to compost outside is to create a compost pile somewhere in your backyard. You want to choose a spot that is shady, dry, and preferably close to a water source. Alternatively, you can also choose to use a compost tumbler or enclosed bin as you would inside if an open pile isn't something you're interested in. For now, we will just discuss how to build a simple compost pile.
It is worth it to note that when outdoor composting, you should ideally have three compost piles. One of your compost piles will be for adding to, one will be in the decomposition process, and the third will be your finished compost pile.
- Clear the space you chose so you're starting on bare soil
- Build a base of brown materials like twigs or straw to provide drainage and then add your green materials
- Continue layering your materials, alternating between brown and green materials
- Add in some nitrogen fertilizer to get a jumpstart on the process
- Keep your pile moist like a damp sponge
- Turn your compost regularly (once every few weeks or more)
Vermicomposting is also known as worm composting and as you might guess, you break down your organic waste using worms and soil. You're left with vermicompost which is made up of worm castings (manure) and decayed organic matter.
Just like with indoor composting, you need airflow in your worm bin. You can buy commercial bins or you can make your own using a 10-18 gallon storage bin or a 5-gallon bucket. Drill some holes near the top so oxygen can get in.
- Once you have your bin, add some bedding (shredded newspaper, cardboard)
- Wet materials and let soak for about 24 hours
- Wring your bedding out so that it feels similar to a damp sponge
- Put your bedding at the bottom of your worm bin
- Add in some soil, dead leaves, or anything to simulate a worms ecosystem
- Add in something like a banana peel or apple core to get the microbes going
- Order your worms
- Put your worms in the bin
- Wait about a week before you start feeding your worms
5 resources to help with starting compost at home
Now that we have the basics on how to get started with composting and some of the methods, you might be interested in some other resources for your composting journey. Here are 5 other articles that can answer some of your other questions that might come up:
- Best indoor compost bins: Looking for a good indoor compost bin? This guide goes over the best indoor compost bins to fit your needs.
- Composting for beginners: This beginners composting guide goes over tips on how to create a healthy compost. It will ensure your successful composting.
- What to compost: Remembering what you can and can’t compost isn’t always easy. This guide goes over what you should and should not put into your compost.
- 10 compost dos and don’ts: Something wrong with your compost? Check out this guide for the dos and don’ts of composting and how to troubleshoot any problems you run into.
- Compost pile vs bin: If you’re debating between a compost bin or pile, this article will help you weigh the pros and cons of either option.
Composting does not have to be an intimidating or complicated process. It can be a rewarding way to turn your food waste (and even your yard waste) into rich soil that is full of nutrients. While starting a compost pile might not be as simple as throwing your kitchen scraps in a pile and letting them sit, it is easier than you might think. You can make that process even simpler by purchasing a Lomi electric composter that does most of the work for you. Users are loving how Lomi takes composting off of the to-do list. No matter your chosen method, you now have the tools to start making your homemade compost for your garden beds.
Written by: Sarah Kendal