Composting can be done in many different ways and there is an enormous amount of literature available on techniques, science and history of composting. Reading and learning about composting is never enough. After experimenting with different techniques eventually you find the best ways that work for your home and garden microclimate.
One may find variety of compost bins online, in home improvement stores and garden centers. There are other systems where compost bins are constructed on ground either with wood or with galvanized wire and sometimes even brick or stone walls. Composting may also be done in a ditch in the ground or as a compost pile. Worm composting may work for many. No one technique is better than other and the choice depends on the yard size, level of motivation and experience, type and amount of material that needs to be composted, home design etc.
Composting in an El Paso home garden.
The composting techniques shared in this article have worked well for a few years in an El Paso backyard. The ideas are not original but have been modified to suit the garden and the household.
Collecting the kitchen scraps - container choice
Since the theme of composting is closely linked to recycle and reuse then why not reuse a container, pot, bowl etc that may not be getting much use in the home otherwise. The best size for a container is one that is only big enough for kitchen scraps produced in a day. This leaves no other option than to empty it every day thereby avoiding any smells or fruit-flies.
Another option is to buy a small compost buckets available in the home stores and online with beautiful designs and different materials (steel and ceramic are common). In El Paso, one of the places they are available at is the World Market store.
The scrap container gets its most use if location is convenient whether on the counter top or hidden in a cabinet.
The kitchen scraps composted in this household are:
- All vegetable and fruit material - raw or cooked, including tough stalks and fruit pits
- Any other plant based food - raw or cooked
- Coffee grounds and coffee filter
- Sink strainers are also emptied into the compost container
- Onions and garlic - only if the scraps are buried in the ground. When composting in terracotta pots onion and garlic are not used to avoid any off smell as the pots sit close to patio.
- Shells of nuts such as pistachio shells
- Egg shells.