A Guide to Apartment and Condo Composting

How-Tos and Advice

Composting is a popular green technique that gardeners use to enrich the soil of their flowers and vegetable gardens. Because it’s made from organic food waste, it is easily done outdoors in one's yard.

However, you don’t need a yard to compost. Even apartment and condo dwellers can make nutrient-rich soil for their plants right in their kitchen. Vermicomposting is a popular composting method for people who live in condos. It is discreet, is odor-free when properly maintained, and can be done in a small bin.

How Does it Work?

This method uses red worms or red wigglers to eat food scraps, decaying leaves and grass, cardboard, and other organic materials. In addition to food, worms must also have moist bedding (usually shredded and soaked newspaper and soil) which they will also eat and turn into vermicompost.

As these worms eat, their bodies break down the material. When it exits their body as waste, it is called worm castings or vermicompost. Scraps are continually added to the bin to create more compost. This waste is then used to enrich the soil for plants.

Where Does the Composting Happen?

To make compost in an apartment, a 12-to-20-gallon bin may be used as long as it’s stored in a dark and out-of-sight location. Worm bins should have lids as well as holes at the bottom for aeration, and can be made of wood or plastic. For some people, a convenient location is under the kitchen sink.

When the outdoor temperature is between 40 and 80 degrees, people who live in condos or apartments with balconies or patios can do their composting outdoors as long as they use a dark bin. When temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the worms should be moved indoors.

If you’re considering vermicomposting for the first time, here are a few hand guides:

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