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New to composting

Posted by karan_in_oregon Zone 8 Oregon (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 26, 11 at 0:57

Hi, I have a plastic garbage can that I am using for old leaf mold and used potting soil. I would like to make this into a compost container. It is a regular sized garbage can. I want to put vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds etc. in it. How can I keep it from having an odor and what can I do to use it as a compost bin.
Thank you for all ideas. Karan

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New to composting

Karan, the website linked below should be of some help in your pursuit of composting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Online Composting tutorial

RE: New to composting

Bin composting is not always the best way to go. It depends on what and when you want to plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: When to Compost

RE: New to composting

The basics:

Compost needs to breathe. If it doesn't get enough air, it goes all gooey and you get anaerobic bacteria, which STINK. So you will need to put plenty of small air holes in your bin, and you will need to stir it up fairly frequently (every 3 days or so) to get air into the center. A Compost Crank or a garden augur electric drill attachment are helpful for this.

You also need the right ratio of carbon or "brown" material to nitrogen or "green" material. Generally, the ratio is 3 parts brown to 1 part green. Some examples of browns are shredded newspaper, dead leaves, wood shavings/chips, straw. Greens are fresh lawn clippings, kitchen waste, manure. Cover your greens with an adequate amount of browns and you will avoid bad smells.

Other tips: the smaller and finer your materials, the faster they will break down. I tear my banana peels into multiple strips, crush up my eggshells (I just use my hand), and put my garden waste and even my dirty chicken bedding through a small chipper/shredder before composting. It really speeds up the process. Oh, and your compost should be as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Too dry, and the bacteria can't grow well; too wet, and you get the stinky anaerobic bacteria.

Good luck, and have fun!


RE: New to composting

Thank you for the posts and links to follow. They have helped.
I live in an attached 'mother-in law' apartment. No relation to the couple in the house in front. I have to be careful so thought the garbage can would be the best way to go.
I just can't throw out peels, egg shells etc. any more.
All of my plants are in big containers - 5 hydrangeas, 8 or 9 roses, lots and lots of lilies. I started them from seed and are 2 years old. I have at least 30 and ordered more from B & D lilies. More perennials and vines and shrubs.
Happily the property management and the neighbors don't mind.
I will put the holes in and start putting green things in with the brown material.
Thank you again,

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