Tag Archives: balcony composting

Worms After a Fresh Rain




I’m curious how long these guys will stick around…it’s October now, and the temperatures are starting to drop at night just a bit.

They love coming up around the edges of the trash can composter after a good rain.  Love it!

Looking to compost indoors through the winter?    Click here to learn more.

Use a Trash Can on the Balcony Instead of a Bucket.

Some of my most popular videos are balcony composting videos…I made them a long time ago using really small buckets.

While this method does work, you’ll get better results with a bigger bin.

Every time I respond to a comment on those videos, I always mention using a trash can.

While both a cat litter bucket and a trash can are considered “cold” composting, I’ve found that the more volume, the better.  It allows for more material, it’ll insulate itself a bit better, and you need volume in order to get the process really going.

Watch the video above and apply that design to your balcony/confined space if at all possible- your results will be much, much better!

How to Compost in Small Spaces Using a Trash Can

One of the major factors keeping people from composting is a perceived lack of space.

I decided to create a simple trash can composter system to see how effective it is.

For just $20 and 15 minutes to drill the holes, I have a composting system that is equal in capacity to a pricey compost tumbler.

As long as you drill enough holes and pay attention to moisture levels, this composting method should work for people that only have a small yard, alleyway or perhaps a balcony to work with.

I’ll have more updates on this in the coming months…let me predict the future: it works!


A Tale of Two Bins (article repost)

Originally found at: https://foofycrafts.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/a-tale-of-two-bins/

Recently Hannah wrote a post on her experience with getting started composting and linked to my video.  I thought I’d repost her blog here.

If you try the bucket method and it doesn’t appear to get results, try using a larger container such as a trash can.  The bigger the vessel, the better your results will be.

Anyway, here’s her post.  Keep up the good work, Hannah!

It’s amazing how much waste we can generate in a single day. Throwing out that old toothpaste tube, wiping down the sink with a paper towel, grabbing coffee in a to-go cup, unwrapping a protein bar. Wow. That’s only the beginning! We go through the day and leave little bits and pieces of our waste everywhere. We pass myriads of trash cans. We move those cans into bigger containers until there are no larger containers so we try and bury it. Burn it. Dump it into our delicate creeks, rivers and oceans. Launch it into space?

Seems pretty hopeless.

But change does happen one step at a time. I did some research and decided on the first step. Composting. It seemed like the best way to start. Taking food scraps and other organic matter and trying to turn it into a nutrient rich substance that would be good for upcoming spring gardening projects I have planned. My first question was: “How the hell am I going to compost? I live in a tiny apartment!”. Low and behold, there were articles for that too! I did find that my apartment was at an advantage because we do have a small balcony but I also found that for apartments that don’t have balconies there are services that will pick up your urban compost for free or at a very low cost.

There is this great video about composting that teaches you how to start a compost bin with two nesting buckets and very few other resources.

Of course, everything seems easier and more magical on the internet so when I actually assembled my compost bins it took an extra five minutes for punching the holes on the sides. It was pretty fulfilling to have the two buckets ready to go.

Some extra tips! Buy some worm casings off amazon or at the hardware store, it really speeds up the process and is totally natural. Also, if at first the compost smells bad/weird don’t fret! It takes some time and patience to wait for the final product.The most important tip I found is to keep a second jar in the kitchen for food scraps so you don’t have to run to your outdoor bin every time.

Hopefully this will be ready in time for our window garden project!!

Lessons Learned: Composting is easier than we think!

How to Compost in an Apartment (video)

How to Compost in an Apartment

I found this cool composting video that involves using a khamba, or series of 3 terracotta pots that you rotate as they’re filled up with material.  This reminds me of a stacking tray vermicomposting system, but for composting.

They look beautiful, too!  If I had this on my balcony, no one would know what they were for, unlike my kitty litter buckets.

One interesting tidbit in there was when buttermilk was mentioned as a source of microorganisms to get a fresh compost pile activated…I’ll have to try that one!

I think this looks like a project that could be easily taken with 3 5 gallon buckets and lids:  Fasten the lids on two of the buckets, cut out the lid except for the outer 2 inches or so, and leave the top lid untouched.  Drill holes around the sides for some airflow, and there you have it!

How to Make Balcony Composting Even Easier in 15 Minutes or Less

How to Make Balcony Composting Even Easier in 15 Minutes or Less

A guy by the name of “travelsignguy” often comments on my Youtube videos, offering feedback and suggestions.  Last week I posted the video “How to Start Balcony Composting in 15 Minutes or Less”, and he made a great process improvement suggestion right away.

I know I don’t like turning compost, and I don’t think anyone does.  He suggested to add a third bucket to alternate with the top bucket in the system.  Perfect!

In other words, drill holes in a third bucket on the sides and bottom, then each week dump the bucket with composting material into the empty bucket, and put that one into play.  By doing this, you’re effectively tumbling your compost.  The material is being completely overturned, and this is a great oxygen exchange as well.

Thanks, travelsignguy!

Another frequent watcher of my videos, “zetreque”, wanted me to explain leachate.  In short, we collect it in this system so that the excess moisture doesn’t build up inside the bucket.  This would create a soggy mess and counteract the process quite a bit.

Since the moisture drains through, it allows the contents to stay moist, but not soggy.  The leachate in the bottom most likely contains few beneficial microorganisms and may lean towards anaerobic.

You may wonder why many composter models have a collection unit of some sort, advertising compost tea as a byproduct.  While I’m not a compost tea expert, since the contents aren’t yet compost, the water running through isn’t going to be effective as compost tea.  However, when your compost is finished and is sitting in your tumbler or what have you, empty the collection and start it again…this time through you should have something you can work with if you act fast.

I always recommend Praxxus’ video E-Z Compost Tea to learn the simplest method for creating compost tea.  I hope this explains the difference between compost tea (made with finished compost and water) and leachate (wastewater that trickled through waste that’s in the composting process).

How to Start Balcony Composting in 15 Minutes or Less – Update 1

Balcony composting is a great way to compost in small spaces if you’re not the worm composting type.  Recently I posted a video on how to get started balcony composting in 15 minutes or less, and the response to the video has been great so far.

For the non-video people, I wanted to show you an updated picture of how it’s going.  Pictured above, is the two bucket system, and I found a piece of scrap trim from renovating the kitchen to use as an aerator.  So, how’s it looking?

Exciting, right?  While there’s plenty of room to add more food scraps and such, it’s already obtaining some nice toasty temperatures thus far…pretty cool!  I’m not sure how many updates I’ll have on this particular system, but if anything weird happens I’ll definitely post it up.

Speaking of weird, I started making another balcony composting video, starring a different composting method.  I’ll give you a hint- the video will be done in about six weeks, and it might stink really bad momentarily if all goes according to plan.  Any guesses as to what I’m referring to?  First person to guess the specific method will win a mystery prize from me (if they want). 🙂

Keep it dirty!


How to Start Balcony Composting in 15 Minutes or Less

How to Start Balcony Composting in 15 Minutes or Less

Balcony composting is a great way to reduce waste to the landfill while having fun making some great soil for next to no cost.  For those that don’t compost because they’re grossed out by worms or don’t have the time or space- this method may be the one for you.

All you need is two 5 gallon buckets or similar containers and a drill with a 1/8″ bit.  Drill holes in the sides and bottom of the top bucket, and then place it into the bottom bucket.  The bottom bucket functions as your leachate collection tray.

Now add a layer of shredded cardboard/shredded leaves/straw in the bottom, followed by a layer of food scraps.  Take note to avoid adding meat, dairy (crushed eggshells are fine), fish, pet waste or weeds that have gone to seed.  Adding some finished compost or soil is good to introduce other organisms into the system.  Simply alternate layers until the bucket is full, then put the lid on and start another.

I would not recommend adding water to the system, as plastic holds moisture quite well…however, the consistency of a “wrung out sponge” is ideal, so keep that in mind.  Adding urine in the beginning helps bring some extra nitrogen to the process as well.

Pros/Cons of this system:

+Requires little effort or space
-Hard to harvest finished compost
-Not easy to rotate material (stirring it with a stick can help)

Have you tried this before?  Leave a comment and let me know your experience with this.  I feel weird not making this video sooner, as I’ve made videos for compost bins, tumblers and vermicomposting systems, yet I haven’t focused on simply composting on my balcony to inspire those of you that are strapped for space.  It’s better late than never, so I hope you get started!