How to make an at home indoor compost bin that DOESN’T stink.
When my husband, Ariah, asked me if I wouldn’t mind trying to compost inside our apartment I had some visions of sharing our apartment with overgrown, slimy, yucky little critters. I envisioned dirt everywhere and a huge mess with rotting food smell to boot. It turns out that I was wrong, and we have about 500 little clean worms under our sink contained in a wonderful home-made little composting system that (my happiest little part) DOES NOT smell!
So do you want to know how to make your composting dreams a reality? Follow our steps and we will get you going.
|1. Order worm friends. In order to do this you will need to search online (if you’re reading this you are capable of ordering them online, thankfully) which is pretty easy and will take a little while. A website that we used was Worm Man’s Worm Farm.|
|2. Collect newspapers without color (this may take you a couple of weeks) so that you can shred them into pieces about 1-2 inches in width. (This is actually kinda fun because you get print all over your little grippers and you get to tear apart any ads that may be totally ridiculous or any articles that you don’t like the author of.) I would recommend doing all of the shredding at once so that you sit in a fun pile of paper AND only make as much as you need.|
|3. Select a good sized bin (you can see the picture of perfection in our bin 2′x3′x1′ Rubbermaid, which fits nicely and snugly under our sink in the cupboard). Having a bin with a large surface area is more important than having a deep bin. Using a sharp object, like scissors or a knife, put holes in the sides about 2/3rds of the way from the bottom. This gives your friends the oxygen needed to turn your rotting veggies into great compost.|
|4. Take your shredded newspaper and get it wet in your sink. Now, if you take it and hold it under the water to soak it and then squeeze it out like a sponge it is kinda fun – and the benefit is that you won’t totally drown your new worm friends. (NOTE: sometimes worms like a little change in texture…so if you are adventurous you could also add some wet shredded thin cardboard to your bin – a good example of this type of cardboard is the toilet-paper role!)|
|5. Spread the damp/wet and loosened newspaper in the bottom of your bin to cover it to about the depth of 1/2 full. This is their nice little bed. Then spread your new worms over the bed and watch them wiggle. This is the fun part where you get to say hello and say any blessing over their work that you would like to do. And then cover them up with about 2 more inches of the damp/wet newsprint that you have shredded, wet, squeezed out, and loosened.|
|6. Next you wait one week to let the friends get accustomed to their newspaper home after which time you can take veggie/food scraps that you have. Good ones are carrot peels, excess from cutting celery, banana peels, and actually egg shells crushed up (if you are going to do egg-shells you need to rinse the shells right after you crack them so that they don’t have any gook on them when you put them into the bin), coffee grounds that have been used, tea bags, used paper towels. Things to avoid putting in your compost pile: meat scraps, actual eggs, anything that is already rotting. or other leftovers.|
|7. Wait, and smell the nothingness of your bin while the worms do their job and fulfill their purpose.|
NOTE: Wormies like to be in a dark cool place that has not TOO much noise or movement of their bin. If you open up the bin with the light on they will run away because they don’t like the light…so if some of them wiggle near the top of the bin just open it up and watch them retreat.
Another NOTE: You can add about 1-2 pounds of veggie scraps to your bin every week, and the best way not to disturb your little friends every day is to collect them in a larger tupperware bin in your refrigerator through the week and then open the bin to put them in once on the weekend or something.
One more NOTE: For up-keep of the bin you need to move the created compost to one side of the bin and then add some more of the good damp/wet paper to the other half and ONLY put your food scraps on this new half. This will coax your worms to the new bedding and then you can take the created dirt and put it in your garden! This is good to do after about 3 months, but you can wait until about 6 months if you are like us and don’t want to do it that often. Just make sure that your friends aren’t drowning in the nutrient rich liquid that gathers at the bottom of the bin (and if it is gathering, just add some shredded but dry newspaper).