A decade or so ago, there weren’t many people looking for ideas for easy composting at home. If you were interested in composting, you either ran a farm or you lived in a coop of recent college graduates who were going off the grid. As appealing as going off the grid might be these days, composting has hit the almost mainstream. You probably won’t find it listed as an amenity at your upscale condo communities, but it’s not unheard of to walk into a well-appointed suburban home and find a compost bin.
If you have a little bit of land, it’s easy to create and tend to a compost pile. But composting can seem elusive for apartment dwellers and those in more urban areas without a lot of space. In the last several years, a number of approaches to easy composting at home have emerged, and you don’t need a lot of room for them to work. A small patio or a spot on your porch is all the space you need to compost. In some cases, your compost bin can fit on the back of your kitchen counter! Here’s a look at five approaches to composting in a small space.
5 Ideas for easy composting at home that you can totally pull off
1. Vermicomposting: Under normal circumstances, most of us don’t want a bin full of worms under our kitchen sink. But vermicomposting, or worm composting, takes advantage of the biology of worms to turn egg shells and veggie scraps into nutrient-rich compost. The trick with vermicomposting, though, is that you do need some holes in your bin for air. If you aren’t careful, you can attract fruit flies. So there are a few little tricks to vermicomposting. That said, the worms reproduce, giving you a self-replicating composting system.
2. Bokashi: Unlike most ideas for easy composting at home, bokashi composting can include meat and dairy products. This style of composting uses “inoculated bran” to break down and ferment kitchen scraps. Once you fill your compost bucket, you seal it closed, draining the leachate every other day. The fermentation process takes about 10 to 12 days, at which point you have a usable product that you can use as compost. Despite the complex biological process and description, the actual act of composting with this method is about as easy as could be.
3. Trash can composting: There’s probably a fancier name for this, but the basics are the same. Drill a few holes in the bottom of a trash can for aeration, add a layer of dry leaves, and start composting. Use a shovel or garden fork to stir it up every few days, and wait patiently while everything turns into gorgeous compost. Pro Tip: Make sure you have a secure lid to keep uninvited critters from getting into your bin.
4. Compost tumbler: The compost tumbler is the last idea for easy composting at home if you want to go the DIY route. (We’re outsourcing the next one on our list.) These are nice because they’re sealed (no pest issues) and you don’t have to dig around in the bin to stir things up. You just spin the tumbler and the magic happens on its own. Bear in mind that even though this is an easy approach to composting, these tumblers can be large and pricey. They’re best suited for people with a small yard or patio
5. Subscription composting: We live in a world of subscriptions. From Netflix to pet food to clothes, if you want it, there’s a subscription available for it. And if you want easy composting at home, it doesn’t get much easier than a subscription composting service. You store your food scraps in a five-gallon bucket, set it on your porch once per week, and magic composting fairies* come and take it away, leaving you with an empty bucket to start the process all over. (*not actual fairies)
The real secret in composting, however, isn’t whether you use a trash can or a subscription service or any other method. For composting to work, it has to work for you. I know people who love their subscription composting service and others who rave about vermicomposting. So hold onto your egg shells and let’s get composting.
Do you have a favorite method for composting? Any experiences with composting that you’d stay away from? Share your thoughts in the comments below.