How to start composting at home

I started composting last year after almost 2 years of being unsure about how to go about it and whether I could do it an apartment. Now that I do it regularly, I feel it’s so simple and easy that I should have started earlier. Anyway..

Now that most of you are working from home, all thanks to #COVID19, it’s the right time to start. The planet needs to breathe. We cannot change our choices dramatically. But at least we can try to send less stuff to landfills. Composting also returns important nutrients to the soil which will again be bearing fruits and veggies for us. So, this is as much for the planet as much for our own selfish needs.

In layman terms, composting is decomposing all of your fruits and vegetables peels into a healthy manure. If I were to describe the whole process in a single line, it would be as simple as “put all your peels together in a box with soil and cover it and let nature do it’s job”. In reality, there are just a few other things that you need to take care of. But once you set up the whole thing, it is as simple as that one line sentence.

PC: Google

There are a lot of videos available on YouTube that can help you with the process. I learnt from this one.  Also, listing out the steps that I did to start:

  1. If you are in a place where terracotta pots are easily available, buy them. They work best because of their porous quality and are pretty cheap too. 
    Since I was not able to get them as easily, I bought a big 10 gallon container and drilled holes at the bottom.
  2. The holes at the bottom are to let the liquid from decomposition (also called leachate) move out. So make sure you have a bottom container for your compost bin. Pro-tip: Leachate is great food for your plants.
  3. The only other ingredient needed is soil and some dry leaves to maintain the carbon nitrogen ratio. Now don’t get worried thinking about this technical jargon. Once you start and observe your compost, you will learn pretty quickly how wet or dry your compost is. Dry leaves or shredded paper are good options to put in when you have a wet compost.
  4. Collect all your vegetable and fruit peels of a single day in a box. I generally have a dedicated box which I keep filling every time I peel something. Pretty easy once you get used to it. Once the day is over, I turn the whole box into my compost container. 
  5. Put a layer of soil over it to cover it.

You can pretty much put everything in your compost box like fruits peels, seeds, veggie peels, egg shells etc. The only thing that shouldn’t go in your compost bin is meat and dairy.

It’s a good idea to take a spatula and stir the contents of your bin from time to time just to ensure all parts of the bin are getting enough oxygen. But don’t worry too much about it. If you feel this is too much work, don’t get put off by the whole idea. It might take longer, but nature does it’s job pretty spectacularly.

I have been making compost in my apartment since last year. Summer seasons are really good as the decomposition is much faster. It takes a little bit longer in the winter months.

Have any other questions about composting? Drop  a comment and I’ll be happy to respond.

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