Considering Earth Day is coming up, I think compost talk is fitting.
I use an Earth Machine compost bin. I've seen them on eBay for about $75, but you don't need to pay that much. I bought mine for $20 from the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation. They sell compost bins twice a month to Los Angeles city residents. They also sell a stackable version for $45. I, obviously, went with the cheaper model.
Check with your city to see if compost bins are sold at reduced cost. Portland Metro sells them year-round for $39. My parents had one so that's why I'm used to this type of composter.
The Earth Machine comes in several parts. The top and bottom is easily snapped together. The lid can be twisted to keep animals out. The door at the bottom has a hole for you to put a stick through it to prevent animals from sliding it open. There are four big screws to bolt the compost bin to the ground. That's it.
I've never had to worry about any animals digging into my compost bin so that's a non-issue. The only time it was moved was when police, chasing a suspect through my neighborhood, tried to lift the bin to see if anyone was hiding inside. Those screws held it down tight. And yeah, I used to think my neighborhood was pretty safe...
Anyway, I toss in all fruit and vegetable scraps, paper, yard clippings, and egg shells. No meat. No bones.
The easiest thing for me is to keep a bag by my sink and toss scraps into that. Small paper bags that were used to hold glass bottles but are too small to hold anything? I use it to hold scraps and chuck the bag and all into the compost bin.
If I'm making a salad or chopping up a lot of vegetables for soup, then I keep a bowl beside me and dump all the contents into the bin.
Once I got into the habit, it became easy and automatic.
You'll want some aeration for your bin, so the combo of papers and kitchen scraps seems to work for me. If you have those cash advance checks from credit card companies, you can shred them and add them to the compost. This way you don't have to worry about sensitive information being found in the trash or recycling bin. If you've just mowed the lawn, don't dump in all the grass at once. Layer grass, then some shredded newspaper, then more grass, etc. Don't add in weeds, which often survive extreme conditions and will grow wherever you put the compost.
If the mixture is too dry, you might have to water it. If it looks too mushed together, you might have to turn the compost a bit to give some air. But other than that, there's very little maintenance.
Six months, a year, whenever later, you'll have compost. I don't even wait for my scraps to fully turn into compost before using it. I just line the bottom of my containers with the semi-decomposted mixture and then top it with soil. It'll eventually decompose anyway.
Other garden updates.
For apartment dwellers, Oanh of Unique Schmuck used a Bokashi with good results.
For more information:
Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation Compost Bin Sales Events Schedule
1 year ago today, Dau Hu Nhoi Cha Tom voi Sot Chao Ot (Vietnamese Shrimp Paste-Stuffed Tofu with Fermented Bean Curd Chili Sauce).
2 years ago today, frozen yogurt with fresh fruit toppings at Pinkberry - Los Angeles (Koreatown).