Balcony composting in a laundry basket

Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
Location
eee
Country
Israel
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?
 

Attachments

  • mycompostbin.jpg
    mycompostbin.jpg
    127.4 KB · Views: 39
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
4,224
Reaction score
1,485
Location
California
Country
United States
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?
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
Location
eee
Country
Israel
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.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
472
Reaction score
283
Location
Western Michigan
Hardiness Zone
6B
Country
United States
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?
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
4,224
Reaction score
1,485
Location
California
Country
United States
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.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
1
Location
New Hampshire 03103
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
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.
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
Location
eee
Country
Israel
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.
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
Location
eee
Country
Israel
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.
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2021
Messages
32
Reaction score
7
Location
United States
Country
United States
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 Fabric Laundry Hamper, 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?
First year with a sorta-SFG raised bed and first really foray into growing more than just tomatoes. Interested in composting mostly to decrease the amount of crap my family sends to the landfill each week. After several days of on-and-off scouring of some of the forums, I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried using tall laundry hampers as bins. I've seen messages from people that have success with the big garbage cans after poking holes in them -- the laundry baskets come with holes, so you'd only need to add drainage at the bottom. Or perhaps the laundry baskets not able to hold enough? I have access to pallets and the wire fencing if I were to go that route -- my stumbling block is my husband. He figures that we don't need to do the composting thing for the garden because we are using a soil/manure/mushroom compost mix that he bought a truckload of. I'm looking for something I can do on my own. Any help would be appreciated.
 

Meadowlark

No N-P-K Required
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
2,541
Reaction score
2,047
Location
East Texas
Hardiness Zone
8
Country
United States
... my stumbling block is my husband. He figures that we don't need to do the composting thing for the garden because we are using a soil/manure/mushroom compost mix that he bought a truckload of. I'm looking for something I can do on my own. Any help would be appreciated.
You can never have too much compost and doing it yourself is even better. Not only is that good for recycling stuff but it is also good because you know exactly what is in it...and you have no idea what is in commercial compost. It can be shocking.

I hope you are able to work out a successful approach. It is worth the effort.
 
Joined
Jun 21, 2023
Messages
5
Reaction score
5
Location
Usa
Country
United States
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?
To keep the moisture balance in check, you don't wanna overwater, but having the bottom and top slightly moist is the way to go. If you're up for it, adding a pipe for better airflow could do the trick, even if the basket is on the narrower side. Another option is introducing some wriggly buddies like worms to help with decomposition and aeration.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
26,417
Messages
255,005
Members
13,195
Latest member
Jerry Doe

Latest Threads

Top