Tag Archives: kitchen composters

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”.

Winter Composting (youtube)

Winter Composting

Here’s my man Bentley showing how to compost all winter using those squiggly, squirmy friends of ours…worms.  He always uses cheesy music for his videos, this one is no exception.  However, the info is good enough that you nearly ignore the music anyway.  Being cold sucks.

Harvesting Vermicompost (youtube)

Harvesting Vermicompost

My worms are working their way through the bin quickly, gobbling up everything I put in front of them…so how do I transfer them to a new bin when it’s time?  My man Bentley has a great video showing the best technique for transferring the dudes to a new house.

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!

My Experience With Vermicomposting (article)

I found this story, which explains one guy’s solution to living in an apartment and wanting to compost.  There wasn’t really an option to set up anything large or create something unique, so he went with the worm bin.  I really think worm bins are going to catch on in the future and be more or less well known as something to do.

Why should you care?  Well, you shouldn’t.  I can’t tell you what to do, and frankly I don’t want to.  But I can assure you it’s fun to compost and that you should give it a shot.  Don’t you miss trying out science experiments?  I hated school, but I always loved trying new things…and this is the perfect candidate and it’s pretty darn foolproof when you know the basics.

Let’s read what C.B. has to say:

After reading about Vermicomposting (the process of using worms as a way to recycle discarded food scraps and make compost) online I was so intrigued by the idea that I just had to give it a go. I had been researching conventional composting practices because I wanted a way to cut down on the amount of garbage that I was throwing away, but was having trouble figuring out how I could do it.

For one thing, I live in an apartment so short of my balcony there’s really nowhere else I could start a compost heap. It’s not advised to have one so close to your house because they generally do produce something of an odor, but I was still willing to do so if it was the only way. Besides that though, all the yard maintenance of the complex was contracted out and conducted very efficiently. It would be hard to come up with the necessary refuse to supply the “brown” material for a compost pile.

Enter Vermicomposting
While I was browsing around I kept noticing mention of “Vermicomposting” or “composting with worms” and kept putting off reading about it. Something in the back of my head just kind of assumed “there’s no way I’m doing that.” Most people probably have a similar bias towards worms; sad but true. Finally I did read a few articles about it, and was intrigued by people saying how easy, mess-free and (most importantly) odorless it was. Worm bins are commonly kept indoors and produce no discernible odor whatsoever. This is what really got me interested, because my deck is often in full sunlight and thus not ideal for regular compost or Vermicomposting. If I could keep them inside, then that made it a viable option.

When I remembered that I’d seen the specific kind of worm used in Vermicomposting, “red wigglers” at the local PetsMart before, that pretty much sealed the deal. If you can’t get worms locally then you have to have them shipped, which was somewhat off-putting. But since I could, that meant I could literally start Vermicomposting that day. Perfect!

My Vermicomposting Setup
It turns out that PetsMart was out of stock of red worms that day, but doing a quick search online I was able to find a store that sold live bait situated on a nearby river – voila. I drove out and purchased a single small plastic tub of worms (the woman who sold them to me said there was about forty in it, but I’m not so sure about that.) I figured one tub would be fine since I produce very little waste (one heaping handful of scraps or less daily, on average) and I compensated by buying a much smaller bin than most sites recommend, about 18″ x 10″. I accidentally goofed and bought a clear bin (worms don’t like light), but I solved that by wrapping it in duct tape; after stealing some free classified newspapers from outside a local grocery I was ready to go.

The whole “micro-Vermicomposting” setup cost me under $10, including my new worm friends, and took about an hour to get everything assembled nicely. I introduced scraps I’d been saving immediately and did my best to resist the urge to go and look at them and check their progress. The morning after I set up the bin I was a little alarmed to see three renegade worms dried out on the carpet (only one survived) that had ventured out during the night – this typically means that conditions in the bin were unfavorable. It was apparently a one-time thing though, and I’ve had no additional problems in any way with my worms. I will be buying several more tubs to add in and speed up their consumption rate, but otherwise the entire system is beautifully self-contained.

I am a thoroughly convinced convert to the practice of Vermicomposting and intend to inform everyone in my family about it and hopefully get them started. I hope this article has helped clarify some of the mystery surrounding it for you and allows you to overcome any inherent aversion to the idea you might be harboring.           -CB Michaels

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!!!!

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.