The Easiest, Cleanest, Funnest, and Cheapest Way to Compost
This post is going to convince you to compost in the most no nonsense way possible and it's only going to cost you $20!
Benefits of Composting
First let me convince you that this is something we all should be doing. The most important reason is because it's better for the environment. Landfills are the number one producer of methane in the world, and methane is the most potent greenhouse gas. The number one category of garbage in those landfills that is contributing to the methane is food waste! Americans alone throw out almost HALF of their food every year! The average American is also losing around $2,275 every year in food loss!
PLUS many Americans buy soil for their lawns, gardens, whatever. Now I don't know about you, but I am what one would call a penny pincher and spending money on dirt just sounds like I might as well be putting it down the garbage disposal. So how about I turn my leftovers into the most fertile soil in the world for FREE.
Or as I like to call it - a worm bin. I've had one of these in every single house or place I've lived in since high school because they are so stinking cheap and easy to build and maintain. If you're one of those people who thinks worms are gross you need spend more time with them because they're actually super amazing creatures that are going to change your life and the world.
The reason why I use a worm bin instead of a normal composting system is because I'm lazy (or busy... whatever you want to call it). I don't want to have to go out and turn my soil every day, and make sure there are equal amounts of nitrogen and calcium in my compost. I don't have time to play scientist with my compost. I need to go out and dump scraps into a bin and move on with my life, and that's what this does.
Worms eat your scraps and their castings (poop) is like the gold version of soil. It's the perfect fertilizer for gardens. Plus as long as there is more food than worms they will have thousands of babies, which means more productivity in your bin and more fertilizer. Whoo!
How to Build and Manage Your Bin
This will take you like 15 minutes. Get a bin. Literally any bin. Keep in mind for the weather though. If you live in a cooler climate plastic is totally fine, if you live in a hotter climate wood is preferred because it's more breathable. Although I still use plastic and I live in Phoenix, I just put my bin under the shade of a tree. I just use old Steralite bins that maybe have an outdated color or my mom doesn't want anymore. I try to get these for free!
Poke holes in the bottom of the bin for drainage. You have to water your bin to keep the soil moist so your worms have water to drink. So you need to poke holes in the bottom so water can drain so your soil doesn't rot. Putting your bin under a tree also waters the tree so it's a win-win.
Put a good amount of dirt in your bin. I always have a shit ton of scraps so I start with filling my bin half way with dirt. You can buy it or dig it up from your yard or whatever. It doesn't have to be potting soil or whatever, just plain old dirt.
Order your worms. You want red wigglers because they stay at the top of the bin and eat from the top. Other versions of worms like night crawlers stay towards the bottom so they won't be as effective at eating the scraps. I buy my worms here. They have varying amounts, but like I said I'm cheap and these worms will reproduce so I buy the smallest, cheapest amounts and wait a month for them to have babies. I've been ordering worms from this site for 5 years now and I've never had a problem. Plus they come with instructions that are super handy. So if you already have dirt, and a bin, you just pay the $20 for the worms and you have a worm bin!
Once you have your bin and you've introduced your worms to the bin - start adding food. You need to dig a hole big enough for the scraps, dump them, and then cover the scraps in a layer of dirt. You have to cover the scraps completely to prevent flies and other bugs from becoming interested in the food scraps. Then you wait. Just every day or two go dump your scraps and wait for the bin to fill up. Once it does there are many genius ways to separate the worms from the dirt that you can research, but I love having worms in my garden so I don't separate any more than what I can pick out when I'm adding dirt from my worm bin to my garden.
What to Put in Your Bin
You can put almost anything into your bin. You don't want meat or dairy because it will attract unwanted animals to your bin. Worms don't eat eggshells either so just toss those. And if you put rinds into your bin chop them up to make them smaller because it takes longer for worms to eat them. They love coffee grounds! Also, make sure not to put rotting food into your bin, they're worms not maggots. If your banana is black, great, if it has mold, it needs to go into the trash. :(
That's it! If you notice a problem in your bin just Google it or ask me and I can try to help. For $20 you can keep your leftovers out of landfills, help reduce the amount of methane in the atmosphere, AND have free fertilizer.