How to Compost Indoors at Home

Overview

Composting is a method of breaking down yard and kitchen waste to make organic material that is a nutrient-rich garden amendment. Compost piles are possible outdoors, but not all gardeners have the room for a large compost heap. Instead, you can start a composting container in your house, apartment or condominium using worms. Worms break down organic material quickly, making humus that provides extra water retention and nutrients when added to garden soil.

Step 1

Weigh your kitchen waste for one week to determine how large a compost container you need. Choose a wooden box or plastic bin that is 8 to 12 inches deep and provides 1 square foot of surface area for every pound of food scraps you generate each week.

Step 2

Drill 8 to 12 holes, each 1/4 inch in diameter, at the bottom of the container. This will allow moisture to drain and permit air circulation.

Step 3

Buy brandling worms or redworms (red wigglers) from a worm supplier or local garden supply center. According to the New Mexico State University Extension, garden earthworms are not suitable for indoor composting. Buy 2 lbs. of earthworms for each weekly pound of food you wish to compost.

Step 4

Place dry shredded newspaper or cardboard at the bottom of the bin and soak it with water. Wait for the bedding to absorb the water, which may take up to 24 hours, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Step 5

Add the worms on top of the moist bedding and cover the bin loosely as the worms dig their way into the bedding.

Step 6

Add food scraps to the bin once the worms have disappeared. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says that fruits and vegetables, eggshells, tea leaves and coffee grounds are suitable for composting. Avoid fatty foods, dairy products, oily dressings and peanut butter.

Step 7

Remove worm humus from the bin as it is made by pushing composted material to one side and adding new material to the other side, suggests the New Mexico State University Extension. The worms will move from the old material to the new material.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden or plastic container
  • Drill
  • Shredded newspaper or cardboard
  • Water
  • Worms
  • Kitchen scraps

References

  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Home Composting - The Complete Composter
  • New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service: Vermicomposting
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Vermicomposting: Composting with Worms
Keywords: compost indoors, vermicomposting, indoor worm compost

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.