Tag Archives: kitchen compost bucket

What Are These Bugs in My Kitchen Compost Bin? (video)

What Are These Bugs in My Kitchen Compost Bin?

Kitchen compost crocks aren’t my favorite tool when it comes to composting, but they are fun to ignore. For the last several months, I decided to fill it up and not empty it since it’s colder out (less bugs) and it won’t smell as bad.

I opened it up today, and it was nothing but sludge in the bottom and gobs of compost mites around the lid.

These are a common inhabitant of worm bins, but they don’t really pose a threat to your system. In fact, they’re a bit of a help since they indicate that your compost is unbalanced. Most likely your compost is too moist, and that’s what these critters like being around.

The solution? Add a bunch of dry browns to balance it out. The compost will smell less (better), and there might be less of those compost mites…but really, who cares? They’re part of decomposition.

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!

Ten questions with Michael Mulvaney, Ph.D.

Hey everyone, stay tuned for my upcoming interview with soil scientist Dr. Michael Mulvaney.  I will be asking him all of your burning questions about (you guessed it) dirt!

Are paper and cardboard destructive to your compost?  Is turning your compost pile really necessary?  Will food scraps high in citric acid destroy your compost pile?

All this and more coming soon.  I can’t wait to hear his replies, this guy really knows his stuff!

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!

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 .

Naturemill Composter Problem (video)

Nature Mill Composter Problem

Now THIS is interesting. This woman has to be so bummed. I wonder how often this is happening…even if it’s a rarity, that would certainly sway plenty of people to spend $400 elsewhere. One other thing, why would she be asking Youtube to “please confirm”? Shouldn’t she be asking Naturemill? I hope that’s not hinting at their customer service…

My main question for Naturemill: Do you have a program to take back your machine when it’s considered waste…they have a decent warranty, it seems. It would be a nice touch if that was elaborated on. Could always use a dead kitchen composter for parts, right?

Worm Composting Introduction (video)

Worm Composting 101

This is a nicely done video showing the basics of worm composting.  Not sure why she has a clear plastic bin, worms are favorable to dark conditions.  Either way, it’s a great video showing what I think will become more popular over the next few years…the finished soil from a good worm bin is insanely good.

It reminds me of kombucha brewing too, once you start it initially, it just keeps multiplying.  It’s not a big investment, either…you can get a pound of red wigglers for between $20 and $30.  Definitely the way to go in the wintertime when you need extra help.