Balcony composting in a laundry basket


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I have been composting for a few months now in my (very large) balcony. Just throwing waste and shredded newspaper with some dry leaves. No turning till a couple of days ago. The bottom is very dry, and it is hot here, so I added water from time to time. There is very little smell, and many small flies which mostly stay in the bin when not disturbed, and don't bother me.

When mushrooms popped this week I did a little reading and decided to aerate a little better, not really turning it but pushing and moving with a long stick. The middle part is sticky and probably blocks airflow, while, as I said, water don't seep all the way down.

I don't want to over water it, but I think I do want the bottom and top to be moist. I don't want to have to work hard in turning and mixing. I thought of adding a pipe, though the basket is not wide, or adding worms, or leaving it as it is just pushing it with a stick a bit every week or two. Can someone give me some advice on that?
 

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Worm composting is usually what is recommended for composting small amounts in tight spaces, but what you are doing is an interesting experiment. Intentionally trying to cultivate edible mushrooms is anther idea that comes to mind. There are composting bins designed as tumblers which make turning much easier. When you do get compost where will you put it?
 
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I don't want to invest is special bins, as is probably obvious, just want to improve my cheap one without spending a lot of money or doing a lot of work. I thought it would be too hot for worms so I ruled out the option when I started. Now, after seeing a bit of the inside, and as winter is coming, worms seem more like an option.

I have quite a few pots, mainly decorative, and I intend to add more with time.
 
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Worms don't like hot, you put in worms and it will make an amazing stink of rotting / stewing worms.

Microbial composting gets hot. The problem with small bins in they won't stay hot. When I say hot it's like 60 of 70 deg C. But it can't be dry either. In general small scale composting is hard.

What are your goals for this project? Reduce your waste stream? Make usable compost for other plants? Add to your "green street cred"? Just see if you can do it?
 
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Vermiculture in hot climates is possible.

First, definitely keep your bin in the shade, damp shade would be best. You could even take it inside where it is air-conditioned. Healthy worm bins won't smell much with the lid on and people without any outdoor space do keep them in their kitchen. Another option to try would be to toss a few ice cubes in the bin during the hottest weather.

Then there is the species of worm selected. Indian blue worms (Perionyx excavatus) can take higher temperatures than the common Red Wiggler (Eisenia fetida). Other species such as African Nightcrawlers (Eudrilus eugeniae) are also used.
 
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I have been composting for a few months now in my (very large) balcony. Just throwing waste and shredded newspaper with some dry leaves. No turning till a couple of days ago. The bottom is very dry, and it is hot here, so I added water from time to time. There is very little smell, and many small flies which mostly stay in the bin when not disturbed, and don't bother me.

When mushrooms popped this week I did a little reading and decided to aerate a little better, not really turning it but pushing and moving with a long stick. The middle part is sticky and probably blocks airflow, while, as I said, water don't seep all the way down.

I don't want to over water it, but I think I do want the bottom and top to be moist. I don't want to have to work hard in turning and mixing. I thought of adding a pipe, though the basket is not wide, or adding worms, or leaving it as it is just pushing it with a stick a bit every week or two. Can someone give me some advice on that?
My thoughts here are that maybe it is too much airflow. If you cut a small piece of landscape cloth to line the inside you might have better luck retaining a little moisture.
 
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Worms don't like hot, you put in worms and it will make an amazing stink of rotting / stewing worms.

Microbial composting gets hot. The problem with small bins in they won't stay hot. When I say hot it's like 60 of 70 deg C. But it can't be dry either. In general small scale composting is hard.

What are your goals for this project? Reduce your waste stream? Make usable compost for other plants? Add to your "green street cred"? Just see if you can do it?
I want compost for my plants + reducing organic waste, which is of course already achieved.
 
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My thoughts here are that maybe it is too much airflow. If you cut a small piece of landscape cloth to line the inside you might have better luck retaining a little moisture.
I thinks I'll try that on the bottom part. Thanks.
 

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