Question: How can I compost without a yard? I don’t have much space for a compost pile. What options should I consider? Can I add dead plants to the compost, or should I throw them out? I’m not really sure how to get started. -Tim H.
Answer: If you have a yard, a patio, or any kind of outdoor space, you can drill some holes in an old trash can and make your own outdoor composting bin and start turning your paper, lawn, and kitchen scraps into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that gardeners need every year. However, even if you don’t have any outdoor space to speak of which you can use for composting, you can still join in on the practice of home composting and start making your own money-saving compost while keeping your excess waste out of the landfills
One way to compost without a yard is to purchase or make your own indoor composting system. The internet has lots of options of commercial composting systems that are indoor-friendly, and even some that are specifically designed for small indoor living spaces. If you want to take a more thrifty approach, you should look into making your own indoor composting system and Check out this cheap and easy DIY indoor composting design. For more information on indoor composting, including what to compost indoors and a guide to the different types of indoor composting systems.
Another way to compost at home without an outdoor system, is to start a vermicomposting system, or a worm farm. The best worms to use for vermicomposting are red wigglers, who can eat their own body weight in compost each day. Red wigglers can be purchased at your local gardening center or ordered online. You will want to purchase one pound of worms for every square foot in your composting bin. Start your vermicomposting bin with a mix of moist shredded newspapers or garden leaves and soil. Then, add in the red worms and your kitchen scraps so that your worms will have something to eat. That’s pretty much it! Don’t be afraid to try something new when it comes to worm farming. Vermicomposting is a perfect method for beginners. If you mess up the mixture, or if the bin becomes compromised, just toss it out and start anew.
If you don’t have the time (or drive) needed to start composting at this time, it doesn’t mean that you have to continue to toss out all your kitchen, lawn, and paper waste. Look into your local community’s composting centers and start dropping off your compostable waste materials there instead of tossing them into the wastebasket (and eventually, the landfill). Reducing your carbon footprint by recycling as much waste as possible is a great way to do your part for the betterment of our environment, even if you don’t have the time or desire to make your own compost out of your waste. Look into your city’s community sponsored programs for composting and recycling. Cities such as New York, Boston, and San Francisco have programs that will even provide you with bins to use when dropping off compostable items.
Can you put dead plants in compost?
Most dead plants are a good addition to the compost bin and will function as a carbon-rich “brown” ingredient. If plants are green and lively instead of dried out and brown, they serve as “green” ingredients instead because they are full of nitrogen. The only plants you should not include in your compost are plants that show signs of disease or infestation, invasive weeds, debris from black walnut plants (which are toxic to other plant life), or plants and grass clippings that have been treated with herbicide (weed killer).