Tag Archives: compost bucket

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!

Sure-Close Kitchen Composter Review

Sure-Close Kitchen Composter Review

When it comes to composting, you only need two things to make it work: A compost pile and a collection container in the kitchen.

The Sure-Close food scrap collector is by far the best container I’ve seen, and I’ve sampled a lot of kitchen containers.

For more people to catch on to composting, it has to be easy. This container is easy to clean, easy to use, and solves the problems that other containers have.

Here’s the specs:

-2 gallon/ 7 liter capacity… enough for a week’s worth of scraps

-Made of recyclable #2 HDPE plastic, manufactured in Canada

-Easily fits under the sink, in a corner, on the countertop

-The wide, angled opening makes it easy to fill and empty

-The lid stays open at 90 degrees, can be removed when emptying

-Ventilated lid prevents food scraps from fermenting and the holes are small enough that bugs/fruit flies can’t get in. The holes are tiny!

-The seal and latch are nice and tight.

When you think about it, composting comes down to just a few steps:

-Fill your food scrap container
-Carry it out to the compost pile each week
-Empty the container
-Clean it

With the Sure-Close, you can easily compost at home for less than five minutes a week with no hassles.

If you’re looking to start composting, this is a very helpful container that will meet your needs.

It’s Kitchen Compost Crock Season Again…

Not having A/C in the house during the warmer months lends to lots of bugs being in the house, and creates a bad situation for kitchen composting.

I tend to put my scraps either right in the worm bag or out in the yard, but I never leave them sit out for long in the kitchen.  I found that putting food scraps in the freezer is a good technique for when I’m feeling extra lazy as well.

I’ve decided to revive the first video I made for this website again (time flies!), to show my perspective on having a dedicated kitchen composter:

Norpro Compost Keeper Review

I don’t think they’re really that necessary, but they look nice.  Other than that, I don’t have much to say other than I think the charcoal filter is excessive.  I can’t imagine how long it would take to have that container sit in your kitchen unemptied that you have serious decomposition going on.

Bottom line is that if you use one of these that you should empty it weekly at minimum.

Happy New Year… Spring, come quicker.

Happy New Year… Spring, come quicker.

I’ve been ill with the flu since Tuesday, and I haven’t had the energy to do much of anything.  Luckily, I’ll be at home alone for New Year’s, too.  Nothing’s worse than listening to people make hollow resolutions they won’t keep and desperately scanning around the room for someone to kiss when the ball drops.  Does anyone really care about the ball dropping?

Way more importantly, remember a few months ago when I questioned the importance and utility of a kitchen compost crock?  I haven’t emptied it in over two weeks, and it’s not giving me any problems.  In the summer, I would have a huge fly colony taking over my kitchen and the smell would be unbearable even to my standards.

I think the reasons are pretty obvious.  I don’t keep my house above 50F in the winter, so I’m guessing the flies don’t stand much of a chance…funny, since my basement worm bin is teeming with mites, flies…and worms.  My basement is the warmest part of my house by a long shot…who woulda thought soundproofing doubled as heat insulation?

Drinking a lot of coffee seems to help a little bit with keeping the smell down, too.  Other than the worm bin, my little compost crock is the next most effective way to break down waste in the winter.

My compost tumbler is covered in snow and filled to the brim… bummer, because I have a lot of experiments I’d like to try.  This is starting to feel like an outline for the forthcoming year.

I want to test out more products that claim they’re “compostable”, vs. ones certified by the U.S. Compost Council, vs. the Biodegradable Products Institute.  I also want to finally try my hand at gardening…I mean, what the hell.  I’m making all this compost, and my mom is a certified master gardener.

So much for hating on New Year’s, I just made my own “resolutions”.

Norpro Compost Keeper vs. SF Home Compost Pail

So I’m hanging out at my friend’s house in San Francisco, and I start looking in his kitchen for his compost container.  I noticed it wasn’t anything like my host’s can that lives on the other side of town…interesting.

This container highly resembles the Norpro compost keeper other than the fact that it’s plastic instead of stainless steel.  The top, although my dumb self didn’t photograph it, is thoroughly perforated…so I decided to ask him if he’s had any issues with it resembling the Norpro complaints.

He said that he needs to empty it weekly, or it starts to get funky…sounds familiar!  You may remember my review of the Norpro in which I deliberately left food in it for over a week…and here’s how the inside of the lid/charcoal filter looked:

Woohoo, bugs everywhere.  It took me over a week to get the kitchen free of flies.  I asked him if he had any similar issues…none to report.  Sounds like a responsible composter to me!  The holes on the top of the SF pail are also way smaller…but there’s no charcoal filter.  Why the holes to begin with?  I don’t see the point.

Conclusion?  San Francisco pail is way better.  It’s uglier, but it’s still better.  For maximum pleasure in non-composting cities, go with a simple tupperware container (preferably clear so you can watch the contents get funky) that has an “air tight” lid.  And that’s that.

Happy composting!

How to Take Great Photos of Your Vegetable Garden (article)

Nothing says success as a gardener more than when the first vegetables start sprouting. All of that hard work, from cultivating the soil, adding in compost, and growing your seeds indoors has all finally come to a positive climax.

However, it doesn’t have to end there. With the many blogs, message boards and groups on vegetable gardening, why not share your results with other gardeners with some photos. With today’s digital cameras and photo editing software, you can have wonderful pictures uploaded and online in no time. Here are some tips to make sure your shots make your veggies look pristine rather than dumpy.

Take a Close Up
Even though you might have the latest and greatest super zoom camera, I have found that my best photos have come when I move in closer to the vegetable or vegetable plant I am trying to take a picture of. Make sure the plant you are photographing takes up as much space on the view lens as possible.

Sunny Day
One of the best photo opportunities is when the sun is shining and first thing in the morning. When you see the sun glistening off the morning dew that is on your vegetables, it makes for a great photograph. Next time you take a photo use this shot and you will be happy with it as well.

Level Up
Don’t be afraid to get down on the same level as the vegetable you are trying to photograph. When you take a picture on the same level it makes it look so much better than when you are higher.

Organize the Photo
Nothing looks worse then when I take a photo of something and when I see the picture on my computer it looks terrible because it looks very disorganized. In other words, besides those juicy red tomatoes I was trying to capture, I also got the dog in there, some of the fence, some of my planting pots, and of course that is when my two year old decided he was going to run by. It is best to retake this photo and get it organized so that it will look better.

Photo Editing
I took the plunge and invested in Adobe Photoshop. It is a great tool for many things I do, and one of those things is editing photos I take. On occasion I will need to remove what I call background noise (unmovable objects, bugs etc) that take away from the beauty of the vegetable I am trying to photograph. There are many photo editing pieces of software on the market and they range in price from as little as $30 all the way up to $500. Buy based on how much you are going to use it.

You work hard on your vegetable garden and there is nothing wrong with sharing your hard work with others through photographs. So go ahead and take some good shots of your vegetables and upload them online so others can get inspired by your work.              -Bruce A. Tucker

I was looking around on ezinearticles, and I came across this goofy article.  Do you know what I’m slightly hinting at?

Take pictures of your compost and email them to me!!!!

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.

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.

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!

How to Compost at Home with a Composting Bin (video)

How to Compost at Home with a Composting Bin

Here’s a good video showing how to build a super-pro looking dual chamber compost bin. I’m guessing this would cost between $40 and $50 to make, but it sure looks nice! He doesn’t specify the size, but I’d recommend 4′ x 4′ x 4′.

If you want to do this for free, find a few pallets and tie them together with coat hangers. Not as nice looking, but you’ll get the same results though.