For balcony composting, vermicomposting is the best option since it takes up less space and has no foul odor.
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Can You Compost on a Balcony?
You certainly can.
It’s a clever way to provide organic matter and minerals to your balcony garden while reducing kitchen waste. It’s also simple to make as it takes up little space.
Apartment composting is essential for ensuring that potted plants with limited resources remain healthy and productive throughout the year.
Furthermore, if you’re a farmer or florist who doesn’t use chemical fertilizers, you might be pondering the viability of balcony compost.
However, you must be cautious when setting up a balcony compost pile. This is especially important depending on the method you use and the composting materials you add to your compost bin.
These two factors determine whether the compost will emit a foul smell and how long it will take to mature.
Things to Consider When Trying to Compost on a Balcony
There are a few factors to consider before you start composting.
- Your available balcony space
- The composting materials, especially those gathered from kitchen waste
- The composting method; whether hot composting or vermicomposting, or electric composting
The space will determine the size of your compost pile. Consequently, this will determine how much kitchen waste you can compost at a time.
Due to limited space, it’s obvious to resort to small composting bins. However, this also presents a problem.
Small composting bins may not reach the temperatures needed to break down the decomposing materials, slowing down the decomposing process.
2. Composting Materials
The fact that most balconies are adjacent to the living room presents a problem. It dictates what goes into the composting bin. Who wants an unpleasant odor filling their living room?
This is where you must carefully consider what you put in your compost bin and where most beginners get it wrong. For starters, you should not put dairy products or cooked food in your compost bin.
The reason for this is that dairy products promote anaerobic conditions. You should know this when there’s a pungent smell.
Also, besides the bad smell, cooked food will require meticulous care to avoid rodents and bugs in the compost and, more importantly, in your house.
3. The Composting Method
The best method for balcony composting is vermicomposting. It’s effective for small spaces and emits little odor, which is easy to manage (we’ll look into this method in detail).
For small compost tumblers, raising the temperature of the organic waste to the required levels for decomposition can be challenging. As a result, hot composting is not the best for balcony composting.
On the other hand, electric composting is somewhat pricey but still viable. It’s convenient because you don’t have to wait days for your compost to be ready; it only takes less than 15 hours to finish.
If you choose to go with this method, purchase an electric composter from Amazon and see for yourself how fantastic it is.
Vermicomposting -The Best Composting Method to Use
What exactly is vermicomposting?
It’s a distinct type of composting in which worms (commonly red wigglers) serve as the primary waste decomposers. Worm composting is another name for this method.
Why is vermicomposting the best method?
Vermicomposting is suitable for small-scale composting and thus does not require a lot of space. Also, the decomposing process does not emit a foul odor, which is great news if your balcony is adjacent to the living room.
How to Vermicompost on a Balcony
Let’s take a look at vermicomposting. For this method, you need the following:
- A worm bin: you can get one on Amazon or customize a 20-gallon plastic pail
- Shredded newspapers or cardboard
- Brown materials: include sawdust, grass clippings, etc.
- Green materials: kitchen scraps, veggies, fruit peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, etc.
- Worms: red wigglers are common, but any worm species is okay.
Step 1. Soak the shredded newspapers with water and spread them at the bin’s base. The papers act as housing for the worms.
Step 2. Place the worms over soaked papers.
Step 3. In a different bin, mix the green and brown materials thoroughly. Ensure the materials are chopped into small pieces before mixing.
Step 3. Add the mixed materials to the worm bin and seal the bin. Ensure the compost system has good aeration.
Step 4. Add your kitchen waste daily until the compost is full. After three months, the compost will be ready for use.
Note: Before applying the compost to the houseplants, dry it under direct sunlight to remove excess moisture and make it easy to store.
How Much Space Do You Need to Compost on a Balcony?
You need as much space as can fit your compost bin, and the ideal space should be about one meter square.
However, the place should have good aeration.
How to Avoid Foul Smell?
Avoid adding dairy products and cooked food to your worm compost to avoid a bad smell. Also, keep your worm bin sealed.
How to Avoid Pests and Bugs?
First, avoid cooked food and dairy products from your bin. Secondly, always cover the compost bin to keep the bugs away.
Where to Compost on a Balcony?
The place should have good air circulation and a roof to protect against the rain. The area should also be well lit.
What Materials to Avoid When Composting on a Balcony?
Avoid dairy products and cooked food in your composting bin to keep your compost free from the foul odor and to accelerate the decomposition process since worms can’t digest dairy products.