How to Compost Using Only Kitchen Scraps
Composting using only kitchen scraps is an easy way to reduce food waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. With a few simple steps, you can turn your food scraps into black gold right in your own home.
Selecting a Compost Bin
The first step is selecting an appropriate compost bin or container to hold your food scraps. Here are some options to consider:
Indoor Compost Bin
- Small countertop bin for collecting scraps
- Typically 1-3 gallons in size
- Odor reducing lid to contain smells
- Easy to empty into outdoor compost bin
Outdoor Compost Bin
- Larger bin placed outside to hold bulk of scraps
- Often made of plastic or wood
- Some rotate to mix and aerate materials
- Capacity of 3 cubic feet or more
I prefer a dual bin system – a small indoor bin for collecting scraps and a larger outdoor bin for the composting process. This contains any odors outside.
Compostable Kitchen Scraps
Nearly any food scrap from the kitchen can be composted. Here are some common items:
- Fruits and vegetable peels, skins, etc.
- Egg shells
- Nut shells
- Old bread, grains and pasta
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Tea bags
- Shredded paper towels or napkins
Avoid meat, fish, oils and dairy products, as these can attract pests and rodents.
Maintaining Your Compost
To create rich, useable compost, follow these tips:
Add browns and greens. Mix ‘brown’ carbon-rich items like dead leaves with ‘green’ nitrogen-rich scraps like food waste. This balances nutrients.
Aerate often. Turn or stir the compost pile weekly to circulate air. This speeds decomposition.
Control moisture. Compost should feel damp but not soggy. Add water if needed.
Monitor temperature. Compost heats up naturally. Temperature around 140°F indicates active decomposing.
Break up large pieces. Chop or shred large scraps to decompose faster.
With the right balance, your compost will be ready in 2-3 months!
Using Finished Compost
Mature compost makes an excellent:
Soil amendment. Mix 1-3 inches into garden beds to add nutrients.
Potting soil. Use up to 30% compost in potting mixes for houseplants or seedlings.
Mulch. Spread an inch or two around plants to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
Compost tea. Brew compost in water, then spray plants to prevent disease.
So put your food waste to work! With a simple compost setup and these tips, you can turn scraps into black gold for your plants.