Apart from reducing waste and emission of methane from landfills, composting kitchen waste enriches your gardening soil and helps you to skip chemical fertilizers.
More than half of the waste we throw away daily can be decomposed and recycled. But, most people out of laziness don’t segregate wet and dry waste. Wet waste that can be converted into black gold remains a waste junk in landfills. This write-up will help to know how to make compost from kitchen waste at home.
Note: Segregation of leftovers is essential of kitchen composting; else you can’t commence the process. This is the reason why municipality in your locality can only compost small percentage of waste your dump.
You’ll be astonished to learn that Indian produces 62 million tonnes of waste annually, which include organic, dry and bio medical waste. Of this, 50 percent is organic waste that can be recyclables. (Source)
So, if every house starts to make compost at home using kitchen waste we can actually reduce green house gas emission.
Can we make compost from food waste at home?
Kitchen leftovers alone can’t be used for composting. They must be mixed with brown matter and required amount of water to start the composting process.
This requires no prior knowledge; however, make sure you mix equal amounts of dry waste with wet waste, so that microorganisms can easily start their decomposing work.
What are green and brown materials in composting?
If you didn’t skip above lines, you might wonder what is brown matter? To be short, green material includes food scraps and brown material includes dry leaves.
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to fill-up the composting bin with equal amount of green and brown materials. Green material is rich in nitrogen and brown waste is for carbon content.
Green Material Include: Peels of vegetables and fruits (except citrus fruit), coffee grounds, flowers, tea bags, egg shells (needed to be crushed) and grass clippings.
Brown Material Include: Dry leaves, small wood ships, sawdust, hay and wood ash.
Must read: How to Compost Chicken Manure in 18 Days?
What not to put in kitchen compost?
One wrong thing in the compost and it will ruin the whole process. As, few things in your kitchen takes more time to decompose, which can result in bad smell.
Below listed are things that shouldn’t be added to your compost bin.
- Fish products
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Pet waste
- Meat, bones and other animal products
- Plastic bags
The reason for not including these items in your compost bin is that they take months to break down or attract rodents.
A simple segregation will come in handy to easily decompose kitchen waste. All other organic waste from your kitchen can be added to composting box. Keep a small container or a bucket to organize vegetable and fruit scraps. Other things that aren’t eligible for composting should go to another bucket.
Few gardening experts also include fruits that are bad or starting to mold. It worked fine for them.
Note: It would be great if you chop the kitchen waste into small pieces, this will fasten the composting process.
How to Make Compost from Kitchen Waste at Home?
You’ve more than two options to start kitchen compost. In this article I’ll share 3 methods of composting.
Process for all the three methods is nearly identical. Only thing that you must remember is to mix balance amount of dry and wet waste.
For dry waste you can add sawdust, wooden chips or hay. This is the reason why as a gardener you must store dry leaves. If in case you don’t have dry leaves, you can use shredded cardboard or newspaper.
How to Compost Kitchen Waste in Apartments?
Before we dwell into the methods, how can a person living in apartment start kitchen compost?
Should you drop your idea of reusing your waste? No, fortunately you can get compost tumbler from local store or Amazon to start fertilizing your container gardening.
Or another way that you can try is worm bin or vermi-composting. This is name is very popular among gardeners. As, the name suggests it uses worms to compost kitchen leftovers. You don’t have to worry about the bad odor.
This system uses red wigglers to decompose food scraps. All you need to do is to add kitchen leftovers to the trays. You’ll be provided with a manual that will help to plan your composting process.
You can purchase red wigglers from local store. Even if you’re not living in apartment, this way of composting is recommended by gardening experts.
There are different products that are available in the market and online to buy. If you’re thinking, why I should buy when you can just throw away the waste, below mentioned are 3 methods that say nothing to buy.
#1 Wooden Kitchen Compost
It can also be metal mesh or plastic box. Anything would work for composting process.
All you need is air circulation, green material with equal amount of brown material and required amount of water.
Your composting dump shouldn’t be dry or soggy. If you find dryness, then sprinkle some water on to it. If it’s soggy then add some dry waste to it.
- Make 3-4 holes in the wooden container to allow air.
- Place a newspaper underneath the container and add a layer of soil to it.
- Now, start filling the wooden box with wet and dry waste in such a way that one layer will be wet waste and other layer should be dry waste.
- Regularly add wet waste from your kitchen leftovers.
- If you find the compost is soggy then add dry leaves or newspaper scraps to it.
- Adding semi-composted soil to the pile will fasten the process.
- Sprinkle some water if you find the pile too dry.
- Mix the entire pile of compost using a gardening trowel.
How long does kitchen waste take to compost?
If everything goes well with the process, then it takes 2-3 months to produce fertile black soil.
#2 Kitchen Compost Using Bucket
You can use a plastic bucket or terracotta pot.
- Drill 2-3 holes on the sides of the bucket. Also, make two holes at the bottom of the container to collect excess water in a tray. You can use it as a liquid fertilizer after diluting it with water.
- Place the bucket on a tray or on a raised bed for air circulation.
- Now, place a newspaper underneath the bucket and add some soil to it.
- Layer by layer add kitchen leftovers and dry leaves regularly.
- Add semi-composted soil to fasten the process.
- Place a wooden block or plastic cover on the bucket to retain the moisture and avoid pests.
- Make sure to check the compost regularly and add little water if required.
- Balance amount of dry leaves and wet waste is essential for composting.
Note: Remember this, you must mix the compost pile regularly twice in a week.
While this bucket is full and start decomposing process, you can start another bucket for composting.
This simple method of making compost using kitchen scraps is without using red wigglers. However, naturally bacteria and fungi do its job to break down the waste and turn into fertile soil for your garden.
#3 How to make fertilizer from kitchen waste (Compost Pit)
How to make a compost pit out of kitchen leftovers?
Process is no different from above 2 methods. However, you’ll be getting large pile of fertilized soil to your garden.
If you’ve wide range of plants to fertilize in your backyard, then plan a compost pit. As the name suggests, this method requires small space in your backyard.
- Dig the backyard and place newspaper underneath.
- Add a layer of soil to the pit.
- Now, start with a layer of food scraps and another layer of dry waste.
- Add some semi-composted soil to the pit and add little amount of water.
- For air circulation, you must mix the compost using digging spade once in a week.
- Also, add water if you find dryness in the compost pile.
- Add dry leaves if you find the compost soggy.
You want to make kitchen compost outside but have no space in the backyards? Then try composting tumbler, they are easy to use.
If you find it difficult to mix the composting pile using digging spade, this product will come in handy. All you need is to roll the tumbler. Composting tumbler doesn’t attract pests and allow good air circulation.
Give it a spin twice in a week and you’ll have good amount of composting soil after 60-90 days.
What to do when compost stinks?
Many gardeners wonder why my compost smelling. Does compost smell?
No, a well balanced compost pile will not smell. If your compost stinks, then this is an indication that you missed something. A proper balance is very essential for composting kitchen waste.
How to stop compost smelling?
Find out the reason for smelling and you’ve the solution. If the pile smells due to high amount of green material, then add dry leaves.
- Or allow air circulation to avoid smelling.
- Avoid too much moisture, by adding sawdust to the compost bin.
- Mix the compost pile regularly twice or thrice in a week to get rid of bad smell.
It’s a great idea that you’re interested in making compost using kitchen waste, which can be used as fertilizer for your home garden. You can easily turn food scraps into fertile soil using simple methods. A bucket, vegetable scraps, dry leaves and little water with good air circulation will help to start kitchen composting bin. Leave a comment if you tried this method.