Composting Kitchen Scraps: a Comprehensive Guide to Different Composting Methods

Composting Kitchen Scraps: a Comprehensive Guide to Different Composting Methods
Home Composting Basics – Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills, and it can also be used to create nutrient-rich soil for gardening. Kitchen scraps are a great source of compost material, but they can attract critters if not handled properly. In this blog post, we explore different methods of composting kitchen scraps, from traditional bin composting to “in situ” composting.

Traditional bin composting is an easy way to manage kitchen scraps. All you need is a compost bin and some basic materials like straw or leaves. Simply add your kitchen scraps to the bin and cover them with the other materials. The bin should be turned occasionally to ensure even decomposition. This method works well for those who don't have a lot of time on their hands, as it requires minimal effort.

Another option is “in situ” composting, which involves burying kitchen scraps in small holes in the ground. This method works especially well if you have raised beds or hugelbeets (beds) at home. Dig small holes and add your kitchen waste before covering it with soil. This will help keep critters away while still allowing the scraps to break down and provide nutrients for plants.

Vermicomposting is another popular method for composting kitchen scraps. It involves using worms to break down organic matter in sealed containers. Start by adding raw kitchen waste into a tumbler for a couple of weeks before transferring it to worm bins or digging and dropping it directly into the soil. This helps deter critters from getting into the compost pile.

Finally, another simple method is dig-and-drop composting. This involves simply digging a hole in the ground and dropping your kitchen scraps inside before filling it back up with soil. This is especially useful if you don’t have much space for a compost bin or worm bins, or if you want to mulch between raised beds or hugelbeets (beds).

Overall, there are many ways to compost kitchen scraps depending on your needs and preferences. Traditional bin composting is an easy option that requires minimal effort, while vermicomposting and dig-and-drop composting offer more control over where your kitchen scraps go. Whichever method you choose, make sure to take precautions against critters so that your efforts aren’t wasted!

What is kitchen waste?

Kitchen waste is uneaten food bits that get tossed in the trash and make its way to a landfill.

What are kitchen scraps?

Kitchen scraps are a recycled material, not waste, because it is a renewable resource.

What is composting in place?

Composting in place is a method of composting where kitchen scraps are buried or dumped on open beds instead of using a compost bin.

Is composting in place effective?

Yes, composting in place can be effective if done correctly. It has been working well for many people who have tried it.

Are critters a problem when composting in place?

Critters can be a problem when composting in place, but taking the edge off by pre-tumbling the kitchen waste can help deter them.

Is it necessary to turn the compost heap?

No, it is not necessary to turn the compost heap. If it gets big enough, you can just leave it and start another one. In a year or less, you can start using the finished pile.

How do I use fall leaves for mulch?

Fall leaves can be used as mulch by scooping them right on top of raised beds or hugelbeets.

Is vermicomposting effective?

Yes, vermicomposting can be effective if done correctly. However, critters may still get into the bins and make a mess, so pre-tumbling the kitchen waste before adding it to the bins may help deter them.