Balcony Composting

ladybug_5(5)July 6, 2007

I have a very small balcony and would like to compost out there for the plants that I have. Does anyone know of a way to compost on a balcony? Any tips, tools, materials, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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I have no idea about composting on a balcony, but I do know you can compost inside with a worm bin. This wouldn't work outside due to the temperature extremes. The only outdoor compost piles/products/containers I've ever seen are pretty huge - way too huge for my deck. So I've contemplated the worm bin for a while, but haven't yet gotten around to it.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 9:54AM
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Here is a link to create a worm composter on your balcony (or even in your home)

I is probably the most sensible choice for a balcony owner because you can use a fairly small bin.

I might try this myself!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 7:05PM
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Start with any size plastic pot. Fill it with 1/2 leaves and 1/2 kitchen scraps. When it is full you add some good planting soil and start planting. While you're growing what you like you're also making compost by way of anaerobic digestion,(no turning). It takes a few months to get humus but it saves the leaves and your plants will feed off of the nutrients in the leaves. Signed, ANAEROBIC

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 10:32AM
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I've been worm composting on my balcony for several years. I have a triple decker worm composter from the county, and by the time I fill up the top layer, the bottom layer is just rich black castings (takes about nine months.) I've been giving the castings and "tea" away; now I'm just getting started with greens and lettuce in containers. I got some good eating this summer.

I'll post separately about how best to use the castings, and how to make containers that are light enough not to bring down the balcony.

I think I like anaerobic's idea of just composting directly in the pot. It sounds simple.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 6:38PM
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I have a tiny balcony and this is my method for producing compost. I borrowed and modified the idea off someone else, I can't claim much credit.
I have 2 buckets (those tall white ones, with lids) Punch a bunch of holes in the bottom of one (to allow excess water to drain) And a bunch of holes in one lid (to get air in without everything blowing away, as I'm in a windy area) The bucket with no holes goes on the bottom to catch any liquid. I suppose in a garden you might not need this, you could sit it directly on the soil. The other lid you don't need.I put scrunched paper in the bottom, then kitchen scraps, then chopped woody stuff. The whole lot got a sprinkle with water.

I turn it fortnightly, and just add whatever comes along. Because the buckets are not too deep, I just get some rubber gloves on and turn it with my hands.

It has no smell, though I use a dust mask for safety when I turn it. It also gets quite warm in the middle. I try to add woody stuff and vegie scraps alternately if I can, though don't worry too much. Air, air, air!
I got some finished compost in about two months, and I then I just top up the bin some more.

Good luck!

Ps you could also check out the composting forum. There is a thread called composting in a small space. This is posted there but there are other good ideas too!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 2:24AM
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bunks, the "small spaces" thread you mentioned seems to have disappeared, but the technique you described sounds perfect for my tiny patio; what capacity buckets do you use? I'm picturing those basic 5-gallon buckets used for restaurant bulk foods or cement. (Little over 18 liters, to the rest of the world.) Is that completely off base? They seem small to obtain heat, but a tempting idea -- thanks.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 10:58PM
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Just lurking around and thought I'd add my 2cents!
Green kitchen craps like lettuce, spinach,cabbage,banana leaves, anything green you can add to an plastic ice cream container or old tupperware! Anything that has a lid.

Cut up those vegetables (Food processor,if you have one) put them in the container you have chosen. Add water covering ingredients. Put lid on. Add water and veggies per use. You can also add shredded brown paper (no glossy) Mix it all together, let it sit 2 or 3 days, then water your plants.

Also take some of veggie gook and bury in dirt! Cover sufficiently with soil so no bugs! Have fresh soil near-by if needed. The gook-plants will compost in pot nourishing plant!

Next time you water, Use this water from veggies. Always use this water from veggies OK.

You can use any size container that accomodates your needs for your in-home compost container i.e,plastic bucket w/lid, empty plastic ice cream container, it just has to be big enough for what you use and what ever makes ya' comfortable!

Hope this helps......Ohgirl

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 3:13PM
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Typically the best strategy for balcony composting is vermicomposting for worm composting. The other way would be hot composting, but unless you can get a space at least 3 feet by 3 feet you probably won't be able to get the bin hot enough to turn the kitchen scraps quickly into hummus soil.

As far as vermicomposting is concerned, the most simple and widely used method is that of using rubbermaid bins with holes in them. There are various resources and strategies online about how to create them.

One resource that is fairly new and getting a lot of great info on it every day is

Here is a link that might be useful: Balcony Compost Site

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 11:26AM
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Ah, I did regular composting on a balcony, in wooden vegetable crates. Worked great. Eventually got a worm box as well.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 6:45PM
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