small space composting–an update

CompostWhile that’s not the prettiest picture in the world it is gardening gold.

Alchemy at it’s best – that black stuff was once the scraps from our kitchen and a little sugar cane mulch (nothing more) and is now nutrient rich compost for our garden.

I’ve written previously about how to make a small compost bin – this is the result of our composting adventure. In just a short time the kitchen scraps have broken down into sweet smelling compost (with very little help except for the occasional roll and stir).

Because our bin is small and therefore doesn’t generate the heat a large compost pile would, we help the composting process along a little. I thought I would share how we do that today.

Composting – speeding up the process

First we collect our kitchen scraps in an old ice cream container under the sink. Depending on what I’m cooking, this container can take a day to three days to fill up.

In this container goes all vegetable scraps, egg shells and tea leaves – no meat or dairy.

Once the container is full I whiz the scraps up in the food processor. This helps the scraps break down faster in the compost.

making compost

The smell off this concoction is unbelievably good – onion-y, garlic-y, apple-y, capsicum-y goodness. Passionfruit and pineapple season was a particularly good time for sweet smelling kitchen scraps.

Once processed, we add the scraps to the compost bin.

making compost

Depending on how moist it is, we also add sugar cane mulch. Other dried materials are suitable, but as we have a huge bag of mulch sitting near the bin anyway, sugar cane mulch it is.

making compost

The little fella loves helping with the compost. We have a colony of worms in the bin, so we ‘feed the worms’ and have a good look at them at the same time.

A bit of a stir and the lid goes back on.

So far our compost has been going remarkably well. I can’t believe how quickly everything is breaking down, despite the constant rain and the lack of sunlight (aka warmth) in the courtyard.

I was worried about smells, but so far it’s been smelling sweet and fresh – like damp earth in the rainforest, even though the compost is constantly wet with the rain.

Composting has been something that I wanted to do, but thought was going to be too hard – it’s not. The compost bin does most of the work and we reap the benefits when we harvest the vegetables that grow in it.

When this bin fills up, we will start a second to allow the first to finish cooking. With the plans I have for our garden over the next few years, we can never have too much compost!

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  1. Stephanie says

    You are very good to be processing all your scraps! Mine go on the heap without any further shredding, it certainly looks a lot quicker your way! I’m just too lazy to clean the food processor every day! :)

  2. Jennifer says

    Melissa, would love to know where one can buy the bucket you are using for composting. I’m looking for something similar. Thanks.