How to compost in small spaces - no yard neccessary!

For those who would love to turn their biodegradables into nutritious soil but don't have the yard, never fear: it is possible! Whether you have a balcony or just a window sill, you too can compost in small spaces to take advantage of this natural process.



One of the first steps you'll need to take is to build or buy your composting "box" or bin. It doesn't need to be a box or bin per se, but a suitable container that can close effectively and has ventilation. Any container you're not using would work just fine (bonus if it's clear - it lets the sunlight in even if it is closed), as long as there are holes in it and it will be convenient for you to "turn" it (basically, stirring it). For a smaller home bin a small shovel (think the kind you might use at the beach to make sandcastles) would be great, very small compost bins would do fine with just shaking the bin/box with the lid closed.


For what goes into the compost bin: there needs to be a balanced carbon to nitrogen ratio, which means you'll need to layer "brown" materials (like straw, shredded paper, wood shavings and/or dry weeds, etc) with your "green" materials (vegetable scraps, green weeds, etc.) and garden soil or finished compost. The pile needs to be kept damp and under the sun! If it gets stinky, stir it up! It will help aerate the pile with oxygen. Adding lime is a good trick to keep smells (and insects!) at bay. As you keep adding to your compost pile you'll find which things decompose quickly and which don't, allowing you to change your levels of brown and green materials to encourage decomposition.


Layer up your compost bin (the base should be soil) and make sure it sits under the sun or near a sunlit window. Heat speeds the process up! If you don't have a balcony or small ledge, try a planter holder made to fit on windows. Keeping the bin outside as much as possible will help keep any insects or unwanted smells out of the home. 


Voila! Be patient. Composting in small spaces is possible, and in time you'll have a rich soil that will be perfect for your herb seedlings!