garudamon11
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Is it possible to make compost in a pot?

Hello

I have very limited place since I live in an apartment, but I liked the idea of composting my leftovers instead of throwing them in the garbage, so I turned one of my empty pots into a compost bin 1 week ago, however Im not sure if Im doing it correctly because compost is supposed to be hot (isnt it?) but mine isnt, whats in there is tea leaves, shredded tissues, banana peels, avocado leftovers, leaves and other vegetable leftovers
The pot is medium-small sized, its smaller than all compost bins I've seen though

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rainbowgardener
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For small scale indoor composting of just kitchen scraps, you would do much better to look in to worm composting. Type worm bins, worm composting, vermicompost etc into the Search the Forum Keyword box and find lots here about them.
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garudamon11
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I cant, worms are not a viable option for me..

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I have a worm bin I keep indoors. I have and 8 gallon rubber maid, it is something like 16x22x6. I put about 3 inches of shredded newspaper and spray it with a spray bottle to get it damp. I bought 1 pound of worms for around $25 I think. And weekly I put in kitchen scraps and turn the bedding.

The worms and the bin do not have a bad smell either. Pretty easy to maintain this and it can go under a bed or in the closet. You could have multiple bins if you want. These worms reproduce fast. I feed extras sometimes to my fish. Another thing to look into instead of red wigglers is black soldier fly larvae. After watching a few Youtube vids about them I think they are more voracious eaters than the worms.

garudamon11
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1- To get worms I'll have to order them via the internet, which sounds quite silly to me (and its going to be expensive)
2- My mom is definitely not going to let that happen
3- I don't like the idea of having slimey maggots around
4- I don't need much compost anyway

Now please no more discussion about worms, its simply impossible for now

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Yes you can compost in a pot, but not sure how to best advise you on method since I've never been so constrained as to do it. Micro-organisms are everywhere, since worms are out of the question and probably most bugs then that's all you got. All they need is a little moisture, and for your case, the C:N ratio is much more important since any smell would probably be a problem.

I replaced my roof back in 2006 because of leaks. The reason I had leaks was because all the leaves that fell on the roof clumped up in some areas and as it rained moisture got trapped in those sections the leaves began to rot, thereby rotting my roofing tiles and wood. What was basically happening was composting; microorganisms were not only eating the leaves, but also my roof all because of the habitat provided by piles of leaves. They don't need much, so yes you can compost without any type of bugs. Read thru this, may help https://compostinfo.com/main/intro.htm

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Re: Is it possible to make compost in a pot?

garudamon11 wrote:Hello

... however Im not sure if Im doing it correctly because compost is supposed to be hot (isnt it?) but mine isnt,...
Your compost will not get hot. To get a hot pile you need at least 4 cubic yards of organic matter. Just monitor for correct C:N ratio and moisture (explained in the link above) and the little critters will munch out.

garudamon11
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Wow thanks alot :D I was worried that it wouldnt work since I havent got enough space, so far I didnt smell anything bad, I turn it once a day to make sure it recieves enough oxygen, does turning it too often have a bad efect on the microorganisms?

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I don't believe you can turn it too much, but I would just turn it every time I added stuff.

Are you doing this inside? If so you probably will want to cover with a lid that will seal or else it will attract bugs. I remember reading a book on worm farming and the author mentioned how surprised she was that various other bugs got into the bin -- they seemed to just appear out of nowhere.

If the bin/pot/container is outside than I wouldn't seal it shut, just let the bugs in, they can only improve the decomposition process. And if you do have to seal it shut you do want to (I would imagine) open it once a day to allow air in. The microorganisms need air just like us and as their population grows they will use it up faster. When the air runs low they will die out and other type of organisms will grow, ones that don't like oxygen. They will also decompose the stuff, but that process is very stinky and it's referred to anaerobic decomposition https://en.mimi.hu/environment/anaerobic_decomposition.html as opposed to what you want -- aerobic decomposition https://www.the-compost-gardener.com/aerobic-decomposition.html

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BTW, youtube has some composting techniques. It's important to remember that there's no reason to treat composting as a science so take everything you hear with a grain of salt, but here's one example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdUAg1e9A28&feature=related

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hmm... For indoor application, there are a number of problems. Top of the list, most compost experts agree that there is a certain critical minimum mass for hot composting -- neighborhood of 1 m^3 or -- oh wait I was going to agree with John Gault but he said 4 cubic yards...? That seems too big. Shouldn't that be 3 ft^3 (1 cubic yard) or maybe 4 ft^3?

Chopping/grinding ingredients into small pieces increases the surface area and speeds decomposition. Adding micro-organisms and macro-organisms -- occurs naturally outdoors.

Indoors, earthworms are obvious macro-organism choice, another not so obvious is Black Soldier Flies. Given the choice, I would choose earthworms because they are not going to escape and they are not really maggots like the BSF. Earthworms are pretty undemanding and you can even get them going in a small -- 2L -- bucket.

For indoor small-scale composting, you can concentrate micro-organisms by using Bokashi. However, Bokashi composting is anaerobic fermentation using cultured beneficial micro-organisms -- Not the same as aerobic composting.

If you Search the Forum -- link is in the link bar above -- for Bokashi, you'll find some previous threads on the topic.

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Remember, too that composting is a natural cycle/process of *something* eating the waste material to turn them into calories/energy and generating a reduced amount of it's own waste.

We've so far talked about worms and bugs (and I understand the reasons why you don't/can't want to use them) and bacteria and fungi/yeast.
You might want to read the discussions here:
:arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=43

Another intermediate step you might be able to consider in reducing your waste matter are small mammals like gerbils, hamsters (or mice, etc) or slightly larger dwarf (or full sized) rabbits or guineapigs. They can help to reduce the food scraps and paper waste before you compost their waste in turn.

I know you said you don't want to talk aout earthworms :wink: but I just want to mention that they are particularly fond of cellulose and therefore, useful for demolishing almost any kind of paper products after they are shredded/cut in small pieces and moistened.

And going OT for a minute here -- people who have space for livestock can use poultry like chickens and ducks, goats, or in some cases pigs and even cattle to perform the intermediate waste management.

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applestar wrote:...oh wait I was going to agree with John Gault but he said 4 cubic yards...? That seems too big. Shouldn't that be 3 ft^3 (1 cubic yard) or maybe 4 ft^3?
Yeah, that's a typo. I meant to say 4 cubic feet, give or take a little.

garudamon11
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My small compost "bin" is in my balcony (that doesnt get direct sunshine for 6 monthes) so I shouldnt be really worried about bugs ... but uhh... today I turned my small compost upside down into another pot just to make sure nothing is going wrong (previously I put a plastic bag in the pot before putting the compost materials .. it seems that was a horrible idea) and what I discovered is TENS OF :oops: :oops: :oops: YELLOW MAGGOTS!!! Im so scared, I don't want to go out in my balcony again :s they are too fast and so small ... its too much for me T_T... what are those things?! Are they flies? Should I be worried about them?!

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I don't know what your yellow maggots, there in the UAE are, but most likely some kind of fly.

A common one we get in compost piles/ bins here is the black soldier fly. There's a picture of it at the top of this page:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=177443#177443

but it isn't yellow, it's kind of greyish brown. So yours would most likely be some other kind of fly.

I'm sorry, but composting is a natural process, which in nature is in large part carried on by micro-organisms AND macro-organisms including earthworms, fly larvae, pill bugs, cockroaches and other detritovores.

I did a worm bin indoors last winter. I filled it with damp shredded paper, some fall leaves and put some earthworms in and started feeding them kitchen scraps. After awhile the black soldier fly larvae pictured above and a few other small creatures, appeared in it. I don't know where they came from, since the bin was indoors, but maybe they were eggs on the fall leaves. Anyway, it would be unlikely and difficult to do composting without some kind of small creatures, they are part of the process. You don't need to be afraid of them. I've never heard of anything in a compost pile that would harm people. They are in the pile, because they are detritovores, that is they live on dead, rotting stuff and help break it down, so they aren't interested in you (at least as long as you stay alive! :) )
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garudamon11
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I'll stay alive as long as I don't physically contact one of them :shock: I guess they cant be anything other than houseflies, I just hope they leave soon and never come back ... the bottom of the compost was too wet BTW so maybe thats the reason, Im going to let it dry out now and maybe I'll add dry and brown things to it

lesson learned: NO composting in plastic bags

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garudamon11 wrote:I'll stay alive as long as I don't physically contact one of them :shock: I guess they cant be anything other than houseflies, I just hope they leave soon and never come back ... the bottom of the compost was too wet BTW so maybe thats the reason, Im going to let it dry out now and maybe I'll add dry and brown things to it

lesson learned: NO composting in plastic bags
Yes, that's been my experience, i.e. the wetter the organic matter the more the maggot-like larvae. But that's all part of composting; they are part of your work force that is making compost - not a problem, but less moisture will keep their numbers down. However, don't forget when there is no moisture all activity stops, even the microorganisms shutdown.

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I don't know what your yellow maggots, there in the UAE are, but most likely some kind of fly.
Rainbow gardener has a good point here. What other organisms native to your area typically handle this kind of work? I think the characteristic to look for is that they would limit themselves to the dark moist environment their entire life cycle.

For better air circulation and to avoid the plastered moist condition of the plastic bag, holes covered with window screens might help. The main bin should stand raised from the bottom tray or shallow bin underneath that will catch any excess moisture.

P.S. I would be creeped out by maggots too.... :shock:
I can't bring myself to try the BSF compost for that reason even though the advantage is that BSF maggots can handle things earthworm bins and compost piles can't. Happily, some of that gap can be filled by Bokashi bins.
People who BSF composts usually have something to feed the resulting maggots and pupae to -- like fish or chickens. BSF also can't be kept outside during winter in my area, and no way am I going to bring them inside.

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I'm amazed Applestar, creeped out by maggots? You are the original nature-girl who puts earthworms in indoor flowerpots and doesn't mind centipedes in the house...
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I have to draw the line somewhere.... :wink:

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:) :)
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applestar wrote:
I don't know what your yellow maggots, there in the UAE are, but most likely some kind of fly.
People who BSF composts usually have something to feed the resulting maggots and pupae to -- like fish or chickens. BSF also can't be kept outside during winter in my area, and no way am I going to bring them inside.
When I turn my pile I expose them to the lizards and birds in my yard; they actually come running (the lizards) when they see me coming. To me that's one of the best things about composting -- watching all the little critters and birds.

Sometimes I wonder if I turn my pile too much; I go out there almost daily to turn the pile just to watch the lizards fest :D

garudamon11
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Somehow the maggots disappeared, I don't know how but my compost is stinky because it was too moist -.- I wonder if it can be saved by letting it dry out? Or maybe I should get rid of it?

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Shredded brown paper and cardboard will add dry carbon materials to balance the moisture and nitrogen. 8)

garudamon11
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Can I use tissues instead?

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garudamon11 wrote:Can I use tissues instead?
Yes, but would try to NOT use tissue paper that is scented, because you don't know what's in the perfume they add, but regular tissue paper is just fine. Or you could just turn the pile so the wet stuff is exposed to the air and the dry stuff in underneath. No need to throw away, that smell will go away real fast.

garudamon11
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Maggot invasion level 2: now with 3 types of maggots ;(

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It's all part of composting, they are part of the workforce making soil for you. Do you think you could load up some pics?

garudamon11
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Well I know they will speed up composting, but they are also using the nutrients in the compost materials to build up for their mature stage, after which they will leave with those nutrients!
But anyway thats not the main reason I hate them, they are just disgusting :(

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garudamon11 wrote:Well I know they will speed up composting, but they are also using the nutrients in the compost materials to build up for their mature stage, after which they will leave with those nutrients!
But anyway thats not the main reason I hate them, they are just disgusting :(
Curious, can you see what they are eating? And do you see any other type bugs in there? I get a lot of mealworms in my compost, they look a little like maggots, but they're the larvae of the meal beetle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mealworm, so I got tons of these beetles all over the place.

Composting is a nasty business if you don't like bugs/maggot-like things and slimy stuff. But that's nature, it ain't all pretty stuff like you see on nature shows. Just this morning I saw the biggest roach in my compost and we got some big ones down here in Florida, but this one was much bigger than normal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_cockroach I got tons of these things around my compost.

BTW, those things are not eating away at your nutrients, they're eating away at the debris and making nutrients for your plants, because your plants can't extract the nutrients directly from the stuff you throw in you compost, it must be broken down by other stuff first. Those maggots do exactly the same thing as the microorganisms -- they eat the foodstuff and make waste (soil), which is then able to be taken up by the plants. The only real difference is that you can't see the microorganisms.

garudamon11
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Im glad I don't have roaches in my compost bin then :shock: well if those maggots are really going to speed up the composting process then they're.. welcomed.. but I just cant get myself to turn the compost anymore.. those maggots are scary :oops: I think I'll just turn it upside down into another pot to avoid contact with maggots

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I have composted in 5 gallon buckets. I mixed a little bit of soil with fall leaves and put it in buckets and covered tops with flat sheets of plywood and put all the buckets in my garage for the winter. It is about 20 degrees warmer in the garage than outside. From Oct to April I got a pretty nice compost. I get free buckets at construction sites.

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