Collecting Kitchen Scraps for Compost

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Colecting Kitchen Scraps for Compost

…a very brief and very simple look at composting.

Meet my compost bin!

As I go about my work in the kitchen she collects odds and bits to be tossed into our (yet to be established) compost pile that will fertilize our garden.

Every garden should host a compost pile.  It is a very simple and inexpensive way to recycle your kitchen scraps and put them to work for you.  Even while your garden is asleep during these  winter months, you can be preparing for the upcoming growing season by starting a compost pile.

What can go into your bin:

  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Vegetable peelings
  • Egg shells
  • Dryer lint

What cannot go into the bin:

  • Meat products
  • Grease
  • Dairy products
  • These will attract unwanted guests (as in rodents) to your compost pile.

Composting can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it but really, all you need to do is:

1. Designate an out of the way corner of your yard to collect your scraps.  Fancy tumblers and crates are fine, but they really aren’t necessary, especially when  you are just getting started.

2. Periodically toss your scraps. Husbie tosses mine for me every day. Yard waste such as weeds that have not gone to seed, leaves, plant waste that is not diseased, and grass clippings that have not been chemically treated can also be added to the pile.

3. Monitor your compost heap for signs of progress.  Compost will happen on its own, but if you want to speed things up a bit keep it moist by watering it with a hose when it appears to be dry, cover it with a dark tarp to keep it warm speeding up the decomposition process, and turn it often so that it will decompose evenly.  We try to turn ours once a week.

Compost that is black and crumbly is ready to  use.  Sift it out from your pile and work it into your garden soil or use as a top dressing for your transplants.

Done properly compost shouldn’t smell or attract rodents.

This post contains affiliate links which means that at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you purchase an item.

Your kitchen compost pail can be as simple as a bucket or small trash can but here are some fancier ones available from Amazon:

 

 

Do you have a compost pile?
What do you use for compost?
How do you maintain it?

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Comments

Collecting Kitchen Scraps for Compost — 16 Comments

  1. I compost everything that the chickens can’t have! I keep two small (5 quart, I think) plastic buckets under the sink and fill them as I work around the kitchen during the day. At the end of the day, when I’m cleaning up the kitchen, I pop the lids on the buckets or empty them if needed. I’m known in our neighborhood for cheering before I run to get my shovel when the the farmer next door brings his horses by and they leave a “present” by the side of the road! Nice post, and important topic! Thanks!

  2. Jenny, I use my plastic coffee containers for my compost. The lids are tight. I place them in an area under my sink and empty them when they are full. I have a neat litte wooden box they fit in my garage where I place them until I can get them to the compost pile. If they need to be cleaned, I rinse them and place them in my dishwasher.
    Thanks for your posts!
    Take care.
    Emily

  3. I want one! I was using an ice cream bucket but it fills up faster than I feel like taking it out behind the shed to empty it. I haven’t been composting any kitchen scraps for a while now. But we do have some wooden pallets to put around our pile out back, to make it a little more “official”.

  4. My compost pile is made from 4 pallets and 8 stakes (1 in each corner of a pallet) holding it into a box. I can add more pallets and stakes or remove pallets as needed. It’s currently half full of composted horse manure, some leftover topsoil, kitchen scraps we saved from our current house in a compostable bag which we threw in, a few compostable nappies (wee only) and some straw. I had a dig the other day (mainly to get out some of the previously donated soils) and found that it’s already breaking down nicely and the soil in there was greatly improved already. Not bad for about 4 weeks of near neglect. :)

  5. We don’t have many (if any) kitchen scraps to compost. Between what we feed to the dogs, the chickens, and the worms there’s not much left! We do compost the straw from the chicken coop and the mixture of cow manure and hay from the cattle feed pen. We turn our compost pile with the bucket on the tractor! Works great for the garden!!

  6. We look forward to starting to compost next year (we will likely be moving in the next 6 months)…and I’ve always had a question. Do you keep multiple compost bins/piles so that they have a chance to “mature” without new stuff always being added?

    • We have two bins and transfer one pile to the other as a means of “turning” them about once a week. Then when we have a enough we plan to sift out the finished compost and use it. We don’t have a whole lot, and we don’t use any manure in ours (which would need to cure for a year) so it works that way for us. I do know of others though who have a series of bins. One of the best tutorials I’ve read about composting was in Bret Markham’s Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 acre. He had a whole chapter on composting in that book that was very helpful to me. BTW, it is so nice to meet you. :) I read your comment over on our other post and had not yet had a chance to respond. I look forward to taking a look at your blog. Thanks for dropping by. :D

  7. Die Hard composter here! Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop!!! Can’t wait to see what you share this coming Thursday :) Here’s the super easy link to the next hop!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-homeacre-hop-8.html

    If you haven’t checked out Wildcrafing Wednesday yet, please do! :) It’s a hop I co-host for herbal remedies, natural living, real food recipes, and self sufficient living. Here’s the link for tomorrow’s hop:
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/wildcrafting-wednesday-10.html

    • Thank you Lisa! Yes, I do link up from time to time to Wildcrafting Wednesday. I have a canning post to share tomorrow.

  8. Pingback: The HomeAcre Hop #8

  9. Can you compost the whole egg? Or just the shells? I ask because I had a batch of hard boiled eggs that went bad. Thanks!

    • Hi Carolyn, Technically the only things you cannot put in are anything having dairy or grease as they tend to attract rodents. I personally would avoid using the bad batch of boiled eggs and just keep it to the shells.

  10. I have two Rubbemaid Flour containers under my sink. I add anything that the chickens don’t eat, as well as tp rolls. Then, because I live in a residential area, I have an area with three, 32 gallon sized Brute trash cans. They sit on soil and have holes drilled in the bottom for drainage. We also drilled holes right under the top and lined the holes with screening, which we attached with spray-on glue. I have found that I need to add either straw or shredded newspaper to the bins weekly to keep it sweet. I stir every few days with a pitchfork. Since I started this process, I have significantly reduced what I send to the landfill and have improved the health and structure of my soil…And it is fun to see bananna peels turn into dirt! :) Oh, and another thing I compost is my vacuum dust! Soooo satisfying.