Monday, March 18, 2013

Composting in an Apartment

Whew... What a busy day it's been.  I am lucky enough to have Mondays off, and while it stinks to not see my man it's great for getting things done.  

Made a batch of muffins and a loaf of bread.  I also have enough dough in the fridge for another loaf towards the end of the week, ultimate lazy dinner. 

Fresh bread, there is nothing quite like it. 

I also did some work out in the "garden" aka my patio with a few pots.  In December (3 months ago) I started a compost bin.  Now most tutorials on small scale composting recommend taking some sort of container drilling a lot of holes in it and adding in your compost.  Unfortunately I can't do that.  I live in an apartment with only a balcony to garden on.  My neighbors would not be happy if I had a giant stinky compost bin smelling up the place.  Not to mention any juices that flow free would end up on the concrete balcony and would never come out.  

I decided to try my hand at composting anyway.  I took one of the old plastic containers we had lying around. I think it was for cat food originally.  It has a very tight lid, which was important to me. I have been slowly adding kitchen scraps, and shredded newspaper I get in the mail.    When I remember (which has only been twice) I mixed it up. Most sites say that it takes about 6 weeks for your goods to compost.  I would say I am pretty close but not quite there.  I think mine is composting slower then normal due to the lack of oxygen circulating, and the fact that it's been really cold this winter.   Today I dug pretty deep and mixed everything up really well. 
Doesn't it look pretty!

A few lessons I have learned.
1. Smaller is better:   About half way though this project my man suggested that I use the paper shredder for the newspaper. Prior to that I had been hand shredding the newspaper.  The little shredded pieces where nicely decomposing and the ones I hand shredded where all stuck together in a gooey mess.    Same goes for the kitchen scraps.  The smaller ones looked great, but the bigger chunks had gotten no where. 
2. Oxygen is your friend:  If I had compensated for the lack of holes by mixing it up more I feel I would be a lot farther along.
3.  Yep it's stinky:  I am so glad I decided to forgo the holes.  Messing with it today was smelly!
4.  Warmer is better: Okay so I haven't learned this one yet but I am hopping that with the warmer weather things well compost much faster.  I will update as soon as I know if this one is true/
5. Anyone can have a rich garden no mater where you live.  I live downtown in an apartment and look at the things I can do.  Go out and Garden!

A few random shots on other things I worked out

Onions planted
Starting the seeds for the 3rd year in my jiffy greenhouse planter.  It's almost time to say good by to it. 

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