Composting FAQS

20151012_155242Where should I place my outdoor composter?

There are two ways to look at this:

Place it close to the door from where you will be accessing the composter.
Pro: Your composter is close & easy to access.
Con: You might consider it an eye sore.

Place it in a more discreet, out of site area.
Pro: You won’t have an eye sore.
Con: You might have to walk a bit farther to dump & run.

What kind of composter should I purchase?

I always encourage consumers to do their own research. What works well for one household may not work well for another. This said, if you prefer a composter that has contact with the earth, my suggestion is the Earth Machine (it’s what I use!).  You will need ground-space with a diameter of about 3 feet to compost using the Earth Machine.  If space is tight, I recommend the Envirocycle Mini Composter.  This unit is a cutie and perfect for small spaces.  The Envirocycle Mini Composter (17 gallons) and it’s big sister (35 gallons) are also good choices for those who prefer the idea of a completely closed and more attractive system.   If you simply want to reduce your household waste, just about any composter will do – you can even make a DIY composter!  A variety of outdoor composters can be found on our Resources page. If you find one you love, please let us know!

What can I put in my outdoor composter?

DO NOT add to your compost:
Meat, Fat or Bones (Easy rule!)
Pet feces – Check out the Dogie Dooley

DO add to your compost:
Veggie & Fruit Scraps
Coffee grounds/filters
Loose-leaf tea/tea bags
Egg shells
Hair from hairbrushes (Pet hair too!)
Lint from dryer
Paper towels & napkins free of fats & oils
Garden waste*

*If your residential waste provider offers a green-waste bin, use that for yard waste and your composter for everything else on the list. Occasionally, you might want to toss in bucket’s worth of grass clippings, as grass will help “cook” your compost.

Optional Items (these items will not break down quickly):
Large seeds/pits
Hard nut shells
corn cobs

How should I collect compostable material in the kitchen? 

This is a great question and one that depends greatly on personal preference… there are so many types of containers to choose from! You can probably use something you already have. My suggestion is to use something made of stainless steel as SS resists stains & odors and cleans easily. Ceramic is also a good choice. I do not recommend using a plastic container only because plastic tends to hang on to stains & odors and does not clean as easily as stainless steel and ceramic.

Printable Composting Guidelines

Do I have to stir my compost?

If you’re a dump and run composter like me… NOPE! Well… stir it when you feel like it but don’t go crazy. If you’re simply trying to reduce your household waste, a lazy poke and stir every now and then will do the trick. I hardly ever stir mine or use any of the completed soil and my Earth Machine consistently hovers around 2/3 full.

What do I poke and stir my compost with?

If you have a compost tumbler – just give it a crank after you dump but before you run!

If you have a composter that has contact with the earth, the easy answer is a compost aerator. I used a shovel for a long time, but after smashing a finger one too many times, I broke down and bought the proper tool.

How do I collect the completed soil?

Well, if you’re like me… you don’t – LOL! But… the stuff is amazingly rich and wonderful for your garden. If you want to use it, here’s how!

You will need a:
+ wheel barrow or a large bucket/tub
+ sieve – a piece of chicken wire (framed or not) or a pre-made sieve if you’re willing to buy one &
+ shovel

1: Place your sieve over a bucket/tub or wheel barrow.
2: Using a shovel, remove compost from the base-door of the Earth Machine (or the door of whatever compost bin you have).
3: Place shovelfuls of compost on the sieve and sift, allowing completed soil to pass through.
4: Discard items that will never break down (stickers from fruit, wire, etc.)
5: Dump anything that simply needs more time back into your composter.
6: Use your homemade soil anywhere you would use purchased soil/compost.

Still overwhelmed?

My goal is to get you composting and if you need my help… I am here to do just that!
For a small service fee, I can provide an on-site consultation.
For safety’s sake… services are offered by referral only.