Composting Systems

Methods:

Worm-bin or factory

I started making my own worm bin years ago…but I had issues as I live in a townhouse, so I decided to buy a system that already was designed with holes and drawers that I can change and keep clean all the time.

Worms accept almost all vegetables and fruits scraps from your kitchen but don’t like things like seeds or eggshells (they can’t process them and may start sprouting), onions or garlic (they don’t like the smell/flavour) and you can’t add anything dairy or already cooked or processed because they will kill the worms and make the bin smelly.

Add a good proportion of vegetable and fruits peels, cores and unused parts in a corner and complete with enough “browns” such as newspapers, magazines, mail, cardboard, etc. cut in small pieces (make sure you remove any plastic, tape and staples). Keep all wet but not too wet all the time and add tea and coffee grounds (but not the bags, staples or cords). Worms won’t process labels or anything plastic so remove all these things from the scraps if any.

You can also add plant material from your garden but make sure it doesn’t carry pests or diseases.

Depending on the size of your bin and how many worms you have, they will produce a bucket full of worm castings every 3-4 months and some “compost tea” you can also use in your plants.

Make sure you don’t over-fed your worms and keep the balance between “greens” and “browns” all the time as well as enough wetness for them not to go dry.

Worm bins may be outside in a balcony during spring and summer as long as they are not under direct sun but it is better to have them inside during fall and winter or the worms may freeze and die.

Bokashi

Super easy and practical, you just need two buckets or bins with a lid and one of them with holes. You’ll add your kitchen scraps to the one with the holes and some “bran” to speed up the decomposition/fermentation process. The buckets need to be closed at all times as this is an mostly anaerobic process and that way you avoid fruit flies and maggots.

The advantage of the Bokashi method is that you can add anything from vegetables and fruits scraps without restriction to dairy, processed/cooked food and even bones with some meat (I don’t do that but it is possible).

The results of the Bokashi method cannot be used directly on your plants or the soil where you’ll plant new seeds. You’ll have to bury the results and allow some time for them to interact with your soil, then you can plant. If you are to be use this in containers, mix it with soil in a different bucket and once is ready you can use it as soil amendment.

Rotating composting bin

The rotating bin is a good solution if you have some extra space. I have one with two cameras so I can start a new batch while the old one is “cooking”. Because it rotates, I don’t have to open and rotate myself (I do it manually by turning the bin on its “legs”).

The rules for the rotating bin are similar to those applied to the worm bin but I can add more plant material, such as plant left over after the harvest. The results depend on how much material I add, temperature, humidity and green/browns ratio.

Resources:

After many attempts, I decided that to keep the peace at home I would better buy a nice system that everybody would like. I bought the Worm Factory 360 from Robert and it has since been incredibly easy to use. My worms are always happy and produce a lot of “soil”: http://www.worm-composting.ca/product/worm-factory-360/worm-factory-360/

Raven Wood BioChar for Bokashi bran and bucket system: http://ravenwoodbiochar.com/styled-9/