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I have started composting since last week and there are some questions which I want to ask. I have a small pot may be of 6 litres. I guess it's Bokashi composting.

  1. I read that for composting, wet garbage and carbon sources are essential, of which carbon sources include newspaper, dry leaves, etc. I have small potted plants so I could not get much dry leaves. So I cut newspaper in approximate 2*2 cm squares and put that the compost. Now after a week's time, when I was turning the compost, I saw that the newspaper had not broken down at all. What could be causing this? What do I do?

  2. Here it is orange season so I am putting lots of orange peels in the compost. Should I dry them before putting in or should I put them as they come?

  3. How much time will it take for the compost to complete? How much water should I put?

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    What kind of composting? Is it just a heap in the corner of the garden, or is it in a large compost bin outdoors? Or are you doing bokashi composting in a small bucket in the house, or any other means of composting? – Bamboo Dec 24 '15 at 13:07
  • I have a small pot may be of 6 litres i guess its bokashi composting – user23068 Dec 24 '15 at 13:08
  • It's only bokashi if you're using the bran mix with it - at that sort of size, bokashi would be appropriate, but suggest you look up bokashi composting and acquire the bran mix. – Bamboo Dec 24 '15 at 13:15
  • Whats bran mix? I dont think its available here – user23068 Dec 24 '15 at 13:17
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    You should ask the questions about the newspaper cuttings and about orange peels separately, they're two different problems. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 24 '15 at 21:07
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Following the other fork of your question - orange peels break down very slowly in compost. The only advantage I'd see to drying them might be if you then shattered the dried peels before adding to the compost so that they were much smaller pieces. Slicing or shredding the undried peel would have a similar effect.

It sounds like you are either poorly sited or poorly connected for composting, given your urban location. If you can find people or organizations promoting urban gardening, they may be willing to take your compostable materials and use them in the city. Sometimes there is a compost collection (similar to trash collection) that can transport your material out of the city for re-use. If there is no such service (do check quite carefully before assuming there isn't) you might try to get one started - in many cases the trash collection can be supportive as it reduces the amount of material they have to handle and dispose of, and it looks good on the environmental front.

Trying to maintain compost in your apartment is on (or perhaps over) the borderline of "likely to drive you insane."

  • And honestly there really is no point to putting so much work into composting something. Just throw the peels in whole. They won't break down in the xompost, but they'll eventually break down in the soil. The reason why it takes so long is that orange peels are naturally preserved once they've lost some moisture because they are high in turpines, which is what turpentine is made from. – Escoce Dec 26 '15 at 17:25
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Bokashi composting is designed for use indoors, usually, in relatively small containers with a lid. The bran that you need is inoculated to activate the fermentation process - more information in the link below

http://www.planetnatural.com/composter-connection/indoor-composting/bokashi-composting/

UPDATED ANSWER:

You've said you don't know what to do with what you've got now. I don't know what to tell you, really - bokashi is normally used indoors, and does need to be 'finished' by adding it to a compost heap outdoors or placed in the ground to deacidify.

The principles of other composting are these - the heap must be no smaller than one metre cubed, and for preference, should be turned weekly. It's best not to add citrus peels or leaves, the main components being garden waste and perhaps peelings from different vegetables, banana skins, eggshells, that sort of thing. Clearly, that's not an option for you, and bokashi would not seem to be suitable either. The only other option I can think of is vermicomposting - but you have to be brave about having worms in a bin in your house. Information in the link below

http://budgeting.thenest.com/compost-worms-indoors-31223.html

but there's plenty of info on the web about it. However, given you have no garden or space outdoors, I rather wonder what you will be doing with the resulting compost...

SECOND UPDATE:

You can get a 50 litre bin (though I'm not sure what the height, width and depth of that would be) and you can put your stuff in it, but it'll have worms, bacteria and pathogens in anyway, if you add soil - even without soil, you'd need to inoculate with something to get the composting process going, whether that's soil or worms or bokashi bran or compost activator products. Composting is only the activity of bacteria, fungi, worms, other organisms consuming and excreting the waste, and in the case of bokashi, yeasts and moulds as well. Other than Bokashi or vermicomposting, composting often may attract undesirable insects within the home (flies). Composting down that amount of waste in a home environment isn't something I'd recommend, frankly, not to mention, you'd need to turn it twice a week to create heat, and probably again to dissipate heat so it doesn't get too hot. Without this heat, you cannot use the resulting compost for potted plants, because the heat is what kills any pathogens present.

More technical info regarding temperatures of composting processes in the link below

http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/fundamentals/needs_temperature.htm

  • I have never seen anything like this barn here. Also the site says that compost made by this method needs to be buried after 2 weeks but theres no open soil here as I live in a city. I have already put soil in the compost . More than half of it is soil! What should I do now? – user23068 Dec 24 '15 at 13:32
  • @user23068 - see updated answer – Bamboo Dec 24 '15 at 18:54
  • I will use the resulting compost for my potted plants. I will try with a larger bin of about 50 litres. Is it enough to not need barn or worms? – user23068 Dec 25 '15 at 3:31
  • @user23068 Please note that if you follow the first link, and then the "newspaper bokashi" link near the bottom there's plenty of DIY info there (though a bit limited in thinking, I think - lactic acid bacteria are easy enough to grow-your own by making sauerkraut, add a bit of yogurt for some other strains, and they discuss yeast in the "EM bran" but then don't add any of that to their mix - all easily done - but this just makes a "pickled pre-compost" (useful, but not finished compost.) – Ecnerwal Dec 26 '15 at 15:08
  • Also - you cannot add even small amounts of orange peels to a worm composting bin. I have one, guess how I know xD – J. Musser Dec 27 '15 at 13:44

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