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Compost 101 – Apartment Edition

Composting is something that has always seemed very daunting to me. However, I’ve found an easy method to get started with composting – in an apartment! This method doesn’t require worms, though you can use them if you want to do vermicomposting.

First, you’ll need to get a bin or container for your compost. You can find specific compost bins online or simply use a storage bin. There’s a ton available that are small and compact enough for an apartment countertop or balcony.

Next, you’ll want to start collecting organic matter for your compost. There are two different types of materials you want to incorporate into your bins.

  1. Green ingredients – this includes all your vegetable scraps (raw or cooked), fruits (avoid citrus), and other nitrogen-rich ingredients like tea leaves, coffee grinds, eggshells and grain products.
  2. Brown ingredients – These include paper towels, cardboard, newspapers, pet fur and human hair, leaves, and other items that are rich in carbon.

What you want to avoid are meat and animal products, as well as plastics and bones.

I started collecting kitchen scraps in my freezer and other materials in preparation to assemble the compost bin. When putting the compost bin together, I layered dirt, green ingredients, and brown ingredients while mixing in some water to keep the compost pile moist. Once you have this set up, all you have to do is wait. Check on it once a week to ensure that it’s decomposing well. Turn the compost and add water. Turning the compost helps to add oxygen which can help speed up the process. If you find that your compost smells, add in more dry brown ingredients and mix the compost. If you find that it’s too dry, add some water while turning.

Once the compost is ready, as quickly as two-to-three months, you’ll be able to use this nutrient-rich soil in your garden! Composting is a great way to divert food scraps away from the landfill and provide you with rich soil to grow plants! The City of Edmonton will be rolling out green bins this year, so this is the perfect time to start getting into the habit of collecting food scraps and learning how we can help our environment.

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