DIY Home Composting In Action

If you are a complete gardening newbie who doesn’t know how to compost, this easy-to-follow guide should be of help.

3 months ago   •   5 min read

By Mark Pearton

Home Composting
Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels

For people who live in apartments or don’t have a lot of space for a proper garden, home composting can prove somewhat challenging. However, with a bit of patience, a Bokashi indoor composter, a 20-litre container, and this guide, indoor composting is possible.

If you have some garden space, you may omit the 20 L container and bury the contents of the indoor composter directly into the soil. However, do this with caution because initially, the contents will be quite acidic. So, it’s best to bury it in soil away from plants and tree root systems.

Check Out Our Step by Step Guide to Start Home Composting!

Step 1

Indoor Compost Bin Food Scraps

Put some food scraps into your Bokashi indoor composter. Take a handful of Bokashi powder grains and sprinkle them on the food scraps. Alternatively, apply six to 10 sprays of liquid Bokashi on the food scraps. Repeat the process until the composter is full.

Step 2

Keep the lid tightly shut. In an anaerobic composting system like this, the microorganisms involved in the decomposition process do not need oxygen. Keeping the lid shut will also prevent the entry of pests like flies and cockroaches that can interfere with the process.

Step 3

Draining Liquid from the Bokashi Bin Composter

Use the tap at the base of the composter to drain any excess liquid. Do this as often as possible.

Step 4

20 Litre Buckets Home Composting

Drill four holes along the sides of the bottom of the 20-litre container and at the bottom for drainage and aeration. The holes will also encourage worms to get to the compost, aerate the soil, and help break down nutrients. Ensure the holes are small enough to prevent rodents from getting in.

Step 5

Aeration Holes In 20L Bucket Compost

Puncture or drill around 20 holes at the top of the lid, with each hole measuring around 2-3 millimetres.

Step 6

Finding the perfect spot for your outdoor composter

Place your 20-litre container in an area that gets half sun and shade throughout the day to avoid too dry or too wet compost. If you can, bury it a bit into the soil to prevent the contents from leaking out onto it.

Step 7

Soil Contents In Composter

Put some soil into the 20-litre bucket. This will help in decomposing the indoor composting material when you mix it into your bucket.

Step 8

Carbon materials for your composter

Add your carbon source into the container before adding content from your Bokashi indoor composter. Ideally, compost should comprise half carbon and half nitrogen sources. The carbon half can be sourced from leaves, woodchips, plain cardboard and shredded paper. The nitrogen half may comprise grass clippings and certain food scraps.

Step 9

Aeration of your composter

Turn the contents of the compost weekly using the stirrer to move the food scraps and to aerate the mixture.

Troubleshooting home composting problems

While indoor composting is a relatively simple process, it’s still possible to encounter certain problems.

Below are some common home composting problems and how to fix them:

Bad-smelling content from the Bokashi kit

This may be due to inadequate Bokashi powder grains or liquid, so make sure you add more Bokashi every time you add food scraps and other material.

It could also be that you're not draining the liquid frequently enough. Therefore, drain the liquid regularly.

Check if the lid has been tightly replaced after adding material.

Green mould growing on the material

Green mould could grow if the material did not ferment properly or if there's too much moisture in the bin. When this happens, you’ll need to get rid of the material immediately with your refuse collection and start over. Only white mould should grow on the content, which indicates the material is fermenting as it should.

General Outdoor Composting Tips

• Always monitor composter moisture. Add some water when the contents are overly dry. Conversely, add more carbon materials and aerate more often if the contents are wet.

• Placing woodchips at the bottom of your 20 L container will ensure proper drainage.

• Avoid adding too much dairy, meat and bread, as these are acidic and difficult to break down and attract rodents too.

• If you have smelly compost, it might be too wet or inadequately aerated. Give it a good stir and mix in more carbon materials and garden scraps.

• If the compost is very dry or cold, move the container to a warmer place with more sunlight and water it a bit.

• In case you produce large amounts of food waste, use more than one container.

Start composting today!

Bokashi Bin Burying content outside
"Bokashi" by podchef is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Composting not only enriches the soil and helps prevent plant diseases and the proliferation of pests. It also lowers your carbon footprint by reducing waste that could otherwise end up in landfills.

With the Bokashi indoor composter, home composting becomes simple and easy. You can start doing it in your apartment or within any limited home space.

If you require more information or additional tips, check out my article on composting in small spaces for inner city residents.

Composting In Small Spaces For The Inner City Resident
We unpack simple solutions to get you started on your DIY composting journey!

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