Guest Blogger: Cult of Kale – Apartment Compost – Tips and Tricks!

14 Aug

Nothing like getting back to the earth in a garden kind of way. Our newest guest blogger Erica, author of Cult of Kale, has a green thumb and has wonderful tips to help you get green. Here she is in her own words, “Erica is a long-time vegan and Urban Horticulture student living in Arizona. Born on Earth Day, she has always had a drive to do her part to live a sustainable lifestyle. She blogs about urban gardening, vegan noms and sustainability on her blog.” Please follow Cult of Kale on Facebook, and Twitter. Please welcome Erica!

Since posting the tutorial for my apartment sized compost bin, I’ve learned a lot about how to make the compost work best and wanted to pass that information on to my readers.

A shovelful of my compost ready to nurture
some seedlings.

Since we have such limited space for compost, we want to do everything we can to help the compost work harder. I do this by following four simple rules:

  1. Blend Everything. I keep all my scraps in a bag in the fridge and at the end of the day I blend them all up in my blender with some water. Blending breaks down the food and makes it easier for the microbes to digest the food. As a bonus, if you have a yard or a large raised bed you can add this directly to the plants by digging a small trench or several small holes and buying it in the soil.
  2. Turn the compost everyday! This one is so important, and so easy to do if you keep it in a small container like I do. The compost needs to be turned daily. This introduces oxygen to your pile and speeds up the breakdown process.
  3. Water your compost – just not too much. If I’m not adding enough blended scraps I will bring a small pitcher of water to my compost every day or every other day depending on the weather. You want to keep the compost damp, but not too moist. If you see any signs of mold growth, let the compost dry out and reduce the frequency of watering.
  4. Add coffee grounds to your compost. If you’re not a coffee drinker like my family, you can get these for free from a local coffee shop. Coffee is Nitrogen rich and after composting will be great for your plants. I don’t know if there is any proof it helps the compost break down faster but it seems to help in my small bin. Either way it’s a free, nutrient rich addition to your small bin.
My compost has a rich earthy smell and despite not blending the first few batches a few weeks ago, the only item in my compost not broken down is a stick that came from pruning pomegranate tree. I cannot wait to use this compost in my fall garden!
Have you started a compost? Do you compost in a small bin like me or do you have a larger area dedicated to it? Do you have any tips to speed along a compost?


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