Composting food scraps, garden waste, and other ingredients is a cost-effective way of creating nutrient rich food for your garden and landscape. Not only that, but you minimise the amount of waste that you sent to landfills which is a great way of doing your bit for the environment! But that’s not all, there are many other benefits to indoor composting!
The Benefits of Composting
Composting gives you organic matter what is rich with nutrients and perfect for improving your soil quality. Whether you sprinkle a little bit on the surface, your garden plants, or house plants, they will grow healthier and much stronger for it. Here are some amazing benefits:
- Feed microorganisms and maintain healthy soil
- Enrich soil and encourage plant growth
- Slow release of nutrients
- A natural alternative to chemical fertilisers
- Improve the overall soil structure
- Promote drainage is clay soil types
- Bolsters the moisture in sandy soil types
- Reduces overall soil compaction
- Reduces soil-borne diseases
- Attracts happy and helpful earthworms!
Composting for beginners
Now that you know how compost food waste can benefit your garden and home, let’s look at composting for beginners with a few tips to get you started!
You can mix in brown and green compost ingredients, which are as follows:
- Brown: dry leaves, straw, pine needles, saw dust, paper products, etc.
- Green: food scraps, coffee grounds, leaves, grass clippings, manure, feathers, and hair.
‘Browns’ are essential organic matter which are high in carbon. These provide energy for decomposer organisms while they break everything down in your compost pile. Then there are ‘Greens’, which are the nitrogen rich protein feeders! A healthy mix of browns and greens will create the perfect composting environment.
Try these following tips before putting anything in your benchtop composter:
- Increase the surface area of composting ingredients (this means shredding, smashing, and flattening all organic matter to make it smaller and easier to break down. This opens wounds in the matter allowing the organisms to get stuck in and start breaking them down nicely!
- Air them out (Just as we require oxygen, so do the organisms that live in the soil. If there isn’t enough air, they will die just like anything else, without reproducing sufficiently to keep the decomposition process moving. Turn the compost pile at least once every week (otherwise fortnightly) and keep your little helpers breathing. If you don’t want to stick your hands in and move the compost around, you can stab away with a fork or aeration tool.
- Ensure it is sufficiently moist (putting overly dry materials into your composter will only slow the decomposition process. The best bet is to squeeze handfuls of your compost to check that it is sufficiently moist. It should ideally feel like a wrung-out sponge (not too moist, not too dry). Find the right balance and add moisture where necessary.
Composting for dummies
In the composting for dummies section, we’re going to simply list a few materials that should avoid putting in your composter. It’s easy to get carried away but remember that your benchtop composter isn’t a trash bin! Here are materials to avoid:
- Charcoal ashes from BBQs (sulphur oxide is not good for compost).
- Fireplace or wood stove ash (ash increases the alkalinity of the compost, so you can add small amounts at a time if that is what you need for your soil).
- Faecal waste from humans, cats, dogs, birds, and pigs
- Weeds with seeds (if the weeds survive, they will sprout wherever you spread your compost).
- Meat, bones, fats, dairy products (this can attract rodents and other nasty pests).
- Any insect-infected material (certain pests and pathogens may survive the composting process, better not to risk it).
Benchtop electric composter
What is a benchtop electric composter? It simple really. An electric composter is an indoor compost alternative that relies on aeration, pulverisation, and heat to reduce the food waste. These are small enough to do your composting in an apartment balcony. However, some are as large as a big garbage bin! It all depends on your needs and waste output.
Small electric composting bin for your kitchen – (How do they work?)
Having a small compost bin for kitchen can be a really handy way of dealing with your food waste, but how do electric composting bins work? Let’s take you through the three stages:
Step 1 – Drying
A hot compost pile of around 120-170℉ is the perfect temperature as it successfully kills weeds, diseases, and pathogens. That is why the electric composter is so useful as it can reach this optimal heat. The composter will grind this heat throughout the entire pile ensuring that every single inch is sufficiently sterilised and completely free of methane. The air is then vented out the back and pushed through filters to ensure that no odour spreads throughout your home.
Step 2 – Grinding
Once the compost is reduced (by up to 90% volume) and dried, the grinding phase begins. Internal gears turn the compost on average of one revolution per minute, further breaking down the compost into powder like particles. This makes it much easier for the compost to mix in with the soil and release the important nutrients.
Step 3 – Cooling
And finally, is the cooling phase. The compost tumbler will return both the unit and the compost mix back to room temperature so that it is perfectly safe for handling. This further continues the aeration process and the dehumidifying of the previous phases mentioned.
Not only is composting an amazing, eco-friendly way of putting your waste to good use, but it’s incredibly easy! Even more so if you use an electric benchtop composter for your kitchen. If you are interested in giving it a try and producing your own amazing plant feed for your lawn, then we would recommend a reputable supplier such as a Hass Food Waste Composter.
In any case, we hope that you have found this guide useful and informative. It should give you a rather good idea as to how to get started as a newbie composter! Enjoy.