My preferred methods of composting are BokashiVermiculture, and Tumbler composting.

Regardless of method, the key to healthy compost depends on three things:

Aeration – Most methods of compost depend on aerobic microorganisms which benefit from good drainage and slits or holes for air to pass through. The main reason you turn a compost tumbler or pile is to aerate it. You can’t turn your compost too much. Do it whenever you think to or whenever you add new material.

Drainage – The bottom of the composter should have holes or slats to drain. Ideally, there will be a spigot and a method of collecting the drippings, called Compost Tea which can be diluted 1:100 as fertilizer and microbial innoculant for houseplants and gardens.

Carbon:Nitrogen Ratio – The proper C:N ratio for compost is approximately 30:1.  If you have too much carbon, the compost will take forever. If you have too much nitrogen, your compost will stink and become disgusting. Increase carbon by adding paper towels, newspaper (not glossy), raked leaves, straw, sawdust, yard waste, or peat moss. Increase nitrogen by adding food waste (NO animal products or oils) or grass clippings.  Coffee grounds have a C:N ratio of 20:1. Adding coffee grounds to compost can help speed up a slow compost pile.  Useful Chart of Carbon:Nitrogen Ratios

What to Compost: Any plant matter, food scraps, yard waste, newspaper (not glossy), paper towels, wood chips, saw dust, used guinea pig or rabbit bedding, coffee grounds, egg shells, spent brewing yeast, old kombucha cultures

What NOT to Compost: Oils, meat, dairy, seedy weeds, waste of omniverous animals such as pet dogs, cats, rats, mice, or humans

Using Finished Compost:

Your compost is finished and ready to use when it is more or less homogeneous in consistency, room temperature, and mostly odorless.  You may wish to sift the compost through a frame of hardware cloth or fine gauged chicken wire to remove any remaining large pieces or undecomposed matter and make the compost easier to spread and distribute.

Using Compost Tea:

Collect the liquid that drains from the bottom of your composter and dilute 1:100 to water your garden or house plants.  This ‘compost tea’ is a fertilizer which also includes symbiotic microorganisms which make nutrients more available to plants and improve plants’ disease resistance, an advantage over chemical fertilizer.


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