Category Archives: General

Using a Compost Thermometer (video)

Using a Compost Thermometer to Determine How hot is your Pile?

This dude is nuts, I love him!  No one can make a compost thermometer review more exciting than he does.

I think it’s funny that he just reads everything off the package…the package certainly provides a lot of instruction to get your pile working properly.  His pile is only 60 degrees…dead as a doornail.  Pay attention to your ratio, dude!  Doesn’t look like you’re following 3:1.

I definitely want to do a collaboration with this guy, I really like his energy.  He’s reviewing a good product as well, so at least he has that right.  But the beauty of open piles is that eventually it will all break down, even if you ignore it like he does.  I’d have to say this is my favorite composting video out there.

What is this guy’s last name?  I have absolutely no idea what he’s saying in the beginning.


Envirocycle Compost Tumbler Review (video)

Yep, I finally got around to reviewing my brand spankin’ new compost tumbler. I was actually really impressed with this thing… I’ve seen a lot of lame compost tumblers. It can fit in the smallest of backyards, rotates easily, it’s made of 100% HDPE #2 plastic, and it collects compost tea.

Be sure to leave a comment on the video letting me know how dorky the video is. For some reason, I really believe in making videos in the first take and using that…I think it keeps it pure. It wasn’t rehearsed, and I didn’t touch the tumbler up until I hit record. I could go back and make it fancier and say things a bit clearer, but I’d rather not. I think it’s evident that I really dig this composter and I definitely recommend this product. Two dirty thumbs up.

Thanks for watching, and if you have any questions or comments let me know!

Millipedes As Composters?

So I went to a show earlier tonight and I ran into a friend that’s really into plants.  We started talking about composting (duh) and she mentioned having a bunch of pet millipedes.  I wasn’t aware that they also act as composters, although not on the same level as the famous red wiggler.

Another item to add to the agenda…creating a millipede bin alongside the worm bin and see just how much slower they degrade stuff.  I can’t say I’ve ever thought of having pet millipedes, but it sounds like a cool addition to the house if they like to compost.  Why not?

Later today, I will be posting my review of the Envirocycle compost tumbler, as well as another update on the kitchen compost crock.  I think it’s day 7 now.  The contents are looking really degraded and the lid’s underside is covered in maggots…it’s pretty awesome.  Stay tuned!

Are Compost Crocks Really All That? (article)

Yesterday, I wrote an article summing up my thoughts about the kitchen compost crock and its effectiveness…here we go:

I’ve been composting forever, and just recently I decided to curb my curiosity and try out a “compost crock”. Are they really necessary, or just a fun item? It’s definitely a glamour item, and since my kitchen is in really bad shape, it’s the beacon of light. It’s also become the beacon of stench.

Here’s what happened: I got the thing, filled it to the brim all at once (which I think may be why) and within two days I wouldn’t have known there was a charcoal filter in the lid. However, day three came around and now I don’t notice anything, other than that the crock is super hot…pretty cool.  I really am composting in my kitchen, which is awesome, but why not just do that in my yard and save the trouble?

I’ve always used a tight-sealing Tupperware container to hold my scraps until I made the trip outside, which does just fine. This compost crock has a shiny silver finish and has a one gallon capacity…it should take me at least a week to fill it since I happily live alone.

I think a possible solution is to cover the holes in the lid with some electrical tape (from the inside of course), since the lid isn’t a tight fit anyway. This may mitigate the temporary odor a little bit. I’ve been trying to find more commentary on these compost crocks to see if other people love or hate them.

What’s the verdict? They look great, they’re sturdy and easy to clean. I would never think of cleaning it, though. However, I’d replace the charcoal filter with an airtight, gasketed lid like you find on some cookie jars. The air exchange wouldn’t be that good, but that’s what a compost tumbler is for. I’m still happy I own this, but there’s no need to make a big deal out of it.

22 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Compost (article)

Read this short article: 22 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Compost

This is a good article to get you thinking about other stuff you may come across that needs to get in your compost. A good portion of the items are obvious, like dead flowers, hair, and cotton swabs. They even put beer and winery waste on there… yeah, I get tons of that. Not sure how applicable that one is.

Then there’s roadkill. Why would you list roadkill on there? Yes it “biodegrades”, but animal waste is not something you want in your pile, let alone the corpse along with the waste! Further still, they mention green funerals. Sounds like a good option, bury me in the woods with no embalming fluid. Pretty hip.

How to Use an Urban Compost Tumbler (article)

As more and more people decide to move away from a conventional compost heap and begin to use an urban compost tumbler it is important that they are used correctly. Knowing how to use the compost tumbler for maximum results will mean that you can produce compost in a matter of weeks.

Here is how to get the fastest results using a compost bin tumbler.

If you want to make compost in a few weeks then there are a few things you need to do to make it happen. Firstly you need to ensure that you only put very soft materials in the tumbler. Only add organic matter that will break down quickly. Don’t put hard stalks of cabbages or the like inside. Just use soft leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds and other materials that can be turned in to compost quickly.

Next you need to ensure that you only allow the contents to be moist. You do not want it to be really wet or totally dry. Limit the amount of water you add so that the contents are just a little moist. This will ensure that you can create the best environment possible for the compost to be made.

Finally ensure that you rotate the compost bin on a regular basis. Do it every few days and you will be amazed at the results that you can achieve. This is how the tumbler is designed and it is like this for a reason. If you follow these few tips you will make compost in a few weeks with the urban compost tumbler. -Dave Tee

Being that I spend so much time playing with waste, I love reading other people’s how-to articles on composting. Some of them are very informative and I might learn something new to try out, others not so much. I’m not saying I disagree with this whole article, but I think most of it is debatable…but what isn’t?

The opening sentence “as more and more people decide to move away from a conventional compost heap”… how do you know that? What event recently has actually changed the number of current composters from constructing a compost heap to getting a compost tumbler? I’m stumped. Yes, composting gadgets are my favorite toys, but I don’t ever expect there to be a “movement” where everyone is rushing out to replace their compost heap.

Then again, I’m hoping this country starts making composting compulsory and taking San Francisco’s lead. I don’t know if SF was first, but I have friends there that always remind me about how much they love their program. On the contrary, I met some Canadians that hated their city’s compost program. Haha, I love all this energy building up around dirt.

Also in this article, he mentions only putting “soft” items in the pile. Come on, dude. If you only put soft materials in the compost, when will you ever compost the “hard” stuff? Take your cabbage stalks and chop them up a little bit. Big deal.

I’m also a bit bothered by the claims of how fast you can make compost with your tumbler. With my new tumbler I just received to test out, I’ll run an experiment and we’ll see how long it takes. I guess it’s not fair for me to complain, it’s just that I don’t mind if it takes a while to earn the black gold. You’re composting…relax. Enjoy it. I feel a little bit cranky. More coffee.

Crazy Kitchen Compost Crock Critique

Norpro Compost Keeper Review

Okay, so it’s been a little over two days, and I’m starting to smell something if I get really close to the container.

Since I put up the review of the container, I’ve looked around for people’s feedback on the item. The main critique I see is that the lid should be more of a snug fit. This is great and all, but the holes in the top still allow air to circulate a bit. In fact, the crock is really really hot! The solution is to empty its contents once a week and you’ll be fine…if you can’t, you may become disappointed with this product.

Another idea I had, was to try putting electrical tape over the holes from the inside. A friend of mine has some purple electrical tape I can use, I think it’ll actually look pretty awesome…so I guess that’s what I’ll try next.

Since I don’t see any claims from the manufacturer about how well the charcoal filter should work, I’m going to assume that it shouldn’t be like this. So as I said in the video, a tight-sealing tupperware food container can do the trick, it just doesn’t look nice. I think I’m going to continue looking for a better container and see what I can find.

UPDATE: The container is still hot, and it’s not smelling anymore.  As I expected.  Or I suffer from hyposmia because I spend time with garbage and food waste every day.  No no, it’s really just fine.  Should I look into trying one of those Bokashi things?  They don’t really interest me for some reason.  I’ll see if they’ll send me one to play with.

What’s the secret to successful composting through the winter?

What’s the secret to successful composting through the winter? Building a worm bin, of course. Now don’t get afraid, just stay with me here. For some reason, people get scared by the thought of having worms in their kitchen. I promise it’s not bad, and you’ll learn to love it. New to worms? I’ll explain what you need to know so you can get started in no time.

Backyard composting is my favorite, I love to do it and spend time every day with my dirt. I’m not even much of a gardener, I just love the dirt. However, when winter arrives it can really slow down the composting process and I don’t really like going outside so much. The solution to this is creating your own worm bin.

Sure, you can buy a series of worm trays, which may cost you near $100 depending on how many trays you get, but I find that this design is a bit laborious to deal with. A much simpler method involves using a “shallow”, opaque tub with between 10 and 20 1/8″ holes drilled around the top. The worms need a good mix of moisture and oxygen to do their thing, and they don’t like light. Must be great to be a worm.

The main ingredient to worm bins is shredded paper and cardboard, this acts as their bedding. Like a compost pile, add your food scraps, but avoid the meat and dairy products. One exception is eggshells, which are high in calcium and promote worm reproduction. More worms equals more productivity, although I recommend starting small and let them reach their natural equilibrium.

Alternate layers of cardboard/paper and food scraps, ending with a layer of cardboard. Spray the bin down with water to get it moist, then let it sit for at least a week before adding any worms. You can order red wigglers online for between $20 and $40, or maybe you know someone that has some already. It reminds me of sharing tools with the neighbors, giving out kombucha babies, finished compost. If you don’t know anyone with them, then I guess you’ve volunteered as the starting point of giving out worms to future composters. Good for you.

Although I live in a tightly packed city, I’m lucky to have a backyard and be able to have an awesome compost tumbler. I realize it’s not as easy for others to do, so worm composting is definitely the way to go. It’s ideal for apartment dwellers to try out and see the results for themselves. You’ll nearly cut your garbage in half, and you’ll have some super-fertile compost to use in your garden, or give to someone else that does.

So there’s your project for this winter: Set up a worm bin, reap the benefits and try not to have too much fun with it. It’s addictive, and you can feel really good about it. Happy composting!

My review of the Norpro Compost Keeper…riveting.

Norpro Compost Keeper Review

Earlier this morning, my new kitchen compost crock showed up at my door.  I was so psyched to get this…I think a little too psyched for what seems like a glorified jar.

I’ve used a clear Tupperware container on my counter top for years, and I’ve had people get bummed on it because they can see the contents of it.  Personally, I like seeing the compost soup, but whatever.  So I thought it would be interesting to get a compost keeper to see if the charcoal filter was worth it or just really excessive.  I’ve decided to leave it full of scraps and see how long it takes before it starts smelling…I’ll keep you posted on it.

Anyway, this thing is way bigger than I thought it would be…and it even has a mirror finished top.  It’s definitely a “statement” for the kitchen, and I find it pretty funny that I have it.  Heck, I even feel kinda good.  Weird!  So yeah, this thing rules…I approve!

Setting Up a Basic Worm Composting Bin

Setting Up a Basic Worm Bin

This is a simple and informative video to get started on your own worm bin…I just found a container in the basement EXACTLY like the one in the video, it must be destiny to start a new bin! I’m definitely going to make a video series of my progress, so stay tuned for that.

Anyway, Bentley has an awesome site, I recommend you check it out…he has more info about worm composting than ANYONE else out there.

Peep it: http://www.redwormcomposting.com .