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I just made this small compost container but I'm not certain how to use it. Should I just put the scraps in there and "let it do its thing" or are there other steps needed?

  • Is that a 1 gallon bucket? Probably the only composting you could do in there would be small scale worm composting. – J. Musser Jan 17 '12 at 2:12
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Not much composting will happen inside that bucket. It's also far too small -- we'd fill that bucket a couple times a week in the winter, maybe daily in the summer. Your kitchen habits may be different than ours, but my point is that you're going to fill it eventually and then you'll need someplace to put the compost. Also, an outdoor compost pile needs to be around 3'x3'x3' before it becomes very active -- much smaller than that and you just have a pile of rotting garbage.

The container you built does look like a good temporary holding spot for kitchen scraps before you move them to a larger container or an outdoor pile.

If you read the second post in the series that you linked to, you'll see that the author is really talking about vermicomposting (i.e. composting with worms) and uses the small container you built as a temporary holding spot:

We keep our DIY kitchen compost bucket under our kitchen sink until it is full, at which time we feed the worms by emptying the contents into the worm farm.

From what I've read from other sources, worms can eat about half of their body weight in compost per day. So if you have a pound of worms, they'll eat half a pound of kitchen scraps every day.

If you're thinking about trying vermicomposting, do a little more reading -- the articles you linked to are light on details.

  • Ah...the second article :D. Thanks for pointing me the right direction. Btw, my kitchen habits are pretty heavy, so I think I may need to build a bigger container for the kitchen as you're right, I may fill that up a couple of times a day. Again thanks. – Robert Jan 17 '12 at 3:13
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    @Robert: Glad to help. I use a ~3 gal container under the sink -- an empty laundry detergent pail. The lid rests on top instead of snapping on like the coffee can -- makes it easier to make frequent additions. It also has a wider mouth than the coffee can -- so, for example, it's easier to scrape a cutting board with veg waste into it. I didn't add any kind of charcoal filter and we don't have odor problems; just be sure to empty it frequently. Even with the charcoal if you leave scraps sitting for long enough, the smell is going to knock you in the face when you finally remove the lid... – bstpierre Jan 17 '12 at 3:19

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