How to Make Compost at Home from Kitchen Waste

by Rachna

I have been composting at home for years now. It almost feels like second nature to segregate waste especially wet waste for composting. Winter is a good time as there are so many peas, greens and other veggies that I am able to fill a bin in no time. Here I am sharing some of my tips so that you can make compost at home from your kitchen waste. In case, you have any questions, I will be glad to answer them.

Here’s how you can make compost or organic fertilizer at home. Let’s start from the basics.

 how to make compost at home

What is organic compost?

It is kitchen waste and decomposed organic material on which bacteria has acted to give you a mineral rich dark brown organic material that is fertile and really good for all your plants.

What do you need to start composting?

  1. Organic material: You can use kitchen waste like fresh peels of fruits and vegetables, egg shells, tea and coffee grinds. Avoid using any cooked food, non-veg like meat or bones, any animal waste like animal droppings. You can also use your lawn waste like cut grass, dried or fresh leaves, soil. You can use newspaper as well.
  2. Compost bin: You definitely do not need to buy expensive fancy bins. You can start with a plastic/wood or earthenware pot or container with a sturdy lid. Use any old/no-longer in use containers. I have used sturdy paint containers too.
  3. Starter: Now this typically is not mandatory but it does help to break down your organic material faster. Some people use a bit of watered down sour curd or buttermilk when making their layers. I use bio enzyme that I prepare at home. You can see how to make it here. Basically, this acts as a catalyst and helps bacteria break down your trash faster.
  4. Water: Your organic material needs to be damp but not wet. If they are wet then they will not let the bacteria break down the material properly. If you layers feel too wet add some dry material like coco peat, soil or shredded newspaper to make it drier. At the same time do not let your layers be too dry or your bacteria will not work at all. So spray a little water if everything looks too dry and mix well.
  5. Aeration: This is very important for the bacteria to function well. Hence stir your composting mix once every few days. You can use your hands or a stick to do this. Also if your bin can allow some air to go through holes then that helps as well.

Location of the Compost Bin

Keep your compost bin in a dry place with easy access to your kitchen waste and dry waste. Ensure that the bin is covered at all times. Also ensure that you protect it from rodents. I have an issue with large rodents trying to bite off my compost bin. Let it get some sunlight and do protect it from rain.

Useful Tips if You Are Starting Composting

  1. Keep a plastic pail with a lid in the kitchen. I do that and collect all good peels. I avoid very hard peels or seeds. Generally I have enough peels within a week to make a layer. Remember to not add any of the materials mentioned above in the matter not to use for composting. This will cut down your trips to the compost bin.
  2. Use a compost starter or compost from a previous batch, some soil and organic matter.
  3. Cut your peels into smaller pieces so that they break down faster. I do this for hard cauliflower leaves and stems and other such peels.
  4. Turn your bin layers often to aerate them well.
  5. Keep them optimally moist.
  6. You can keep your bin in the sunlight during winters. Heat makes the bacteria work faster.
  7. Your ready compost should look rich dark brown like soil. It should not smell and you may see a few remnants of peels from your organic matter but mostly it should be a brown mix.
  8. Your finished compost will be half the volume of what you started with but it is very dense.

Once ready, use your compost in your garden or in your pots. You can also sell this to others. I have also made a detailed video (shared above). Do check it out.

Do share this post with others who may be interested.

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how to make compost at home from kitchen waste

Hope this inspires you to make compost at home from kitchen waste. In case you have any queries, do leave in comments and I will try my best to answer them.

Pinned image courtesy By Singkham of Shutterstock

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the bespectacled mother -

I have been interested in composting for a while and this is good enough information. I have a question – isn’t the matter during the composting process too smelly? The smell can be discomforting when done in an apartment. I believe houses with some open space would be appropriate for turning wet waste into compost.

Rachna -

No it is not smelly at all of you don’t use any cooked food. If you follow the method correctly, it does not smell. Also you can put your bins in the balcony if you live in an apartment. It absolutely has nothing to do with sizes of houses. A lot of my friends who love in apartments compost regularly. Put your bins in the balcony.

the bespectacled mother -

Not using cooked food is an useful advice because I am sure I would have added that too. If it can be done in apartments without the smell then I will do it when I return to India.

Rachna -

Sounds good, Anamika. Happy to help!

Shailaja V -

Such a well-written and detailed post, Rachna! I know Aparna would love this. She too has been composting for years ?

I’m also a little envious of those who have large, airy terraces where they grow their own vegetables. Always wanted to do that. Given my terribly black thumbs though, it’s probably a good idea I never got into it ?

I saw the video yesterday on YouTube. Great going!

By the way, I didn’t know that tip about not adding cooked food to wet waste! Is that true of all organic wet waste that we discard? Even for the BBMP segregation? What would you advise?

Rachna -

Thank you, Shailaja. About that cooked food part, it smells really rotten and invites a lot of bugs. So if you compost at home, you will not want it. My compost bins are very clean and no smell at all. For BBMP waste, you can give cooked food. I don’t think smell may be a concern for them. I am glad that you liked the video. I have been meaning to do this post for ages. So many neighbours have come over to see. Hence I thought I could share the post with them.

Rachna -

Also cooked food invites rodents. That can be quite a pain.

Parul Thakur -

I love it and I think I told you this when you shared the post on bio-enzyme. Super amazing Rachna and I will get to this. This is something that I want to do and I will get a strong lid wala dabba and get on this. Thank you so much! I love how much you do. I am in awe. ❤ hugs! what an inspiration you are.


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