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The Simple Breakdowns of Composting

The Simple Breakdowns of Composting

You don’t have to have a large garden or an expensive composter to turn your scraps into nutritious fertilizer; it’s easy and you can even do it in the smallest apartment. Here, Michelle, editor of Gardenista, clues us in to a few tips.

Above: The Brushed Stainless-Steel Compost Pail will minimize odors from food scraps and look sleek on the countertop; $29.95 from Williams-Sonoma.


Above: According to Michelle, you don’t have to get fancy when it comes to composting. She used to toss scraps into a mixing bowl on the countertop. Here, papery skins shucked from garlic and onions, as well as thyme stalks, sit in a glass container. Photograph by Patrick Barber.


Above: Although an open container works, Michelle still recommends one with a lid to keep flies at bay. This Enamel Storage Jar is a good choice because it easily wipes clean; £18.95 at Cookshop UK.


Above: For another compost pail option, we also like this heavy-duty galvanized, rust-proof model with a tight-fitting lid; $69.99 at


Above: If you don’t have outdoor space, you can install a compact, odor-free bin under the sink or in a corner of the kitchen. This stylish red DIY project was originally seen on Apartment Therapy.


Above: Lastly, if you are equipped with the right tools and design sense, making your own composter is ideal. This three-bin system by Ryan Boren allows you to segregate “green” and “brown” materials and then mix them in the third bin.

For more composting ideas, visit Gardenista’s posts Required Reading: The Edible Balcony and  A New World Composting Shed in Edinburgh.

Read more: Crafts & Hobbies, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Green Home Decor, Lawns & Gardens, Outdoor Activities, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Remodelista, , , , , , ,

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Gardenista is a one-stop sourcebook for cultivated living, a guide to outdoor design and gardening. Helmed by former New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla, Gardenista features inspiration, garden visits, and advice for all things outdoor living, from patios and peonies, to tables and terraces. Gardens matter, and Gardenista celebrates tomatoes on the fire escape as much as rolling acres of green.


+ add your own
6:10AM PST on Nov 23, 2012


11:42PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

I like the idea of composting in a small container but so far i just periodically bury my scraps in a hole in my flowerbed.

1:16PM PDT on Oct 6, 2012

good info to know, good read, thanks!!!

8:57AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

I am new to composting, and I'm having a great time. Watching over the decomposition process is kind of like being a kid again, what with the "ick" factor and all :)

1:49AM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

What about using a plastic container or does the plastic toxins leach into the compost and poison the soil? Anyone have ideas on this - although many of the recycling bins are black plastic ones.

11:45PM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

It can stink, so you better not keep that container home. A balcony would be ok.

12:45PM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Thanks for the tip.

6:38PM PDT on Sep 21, 2012


9:21AM PDT on Sep 21, 2012

We've been composting three years and it's amazing to see what we had been throwing away. Our tomatoes and other veggies really love it. Thanks for the article.

4:09AM PDT on Sep 21, 2012

Love my compost bin

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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