Compost Tips on NPR's Science Friday

Compost City author Rebecca Louie (she's also the founder of the blog The Compostess) was a recent guest on Ira Flatow's NPR show Science Friday, and offered tips for how to compost in a variety of living spaces, from a tiny city or apartment to a suburban backyard. You can listen to the interview and read the full transcript here, but here are a few of her tips from the segment.

1. Any compost system needs a balance of dry and wet. "Dry is like leaves, paper, et cetera, cardboard. Your wet stuff is your food scraps."

2. Use a worm bin. "Worm bins live in an enclosed space like a storage tote, a bucket, there are commercial systems you could buy as well. The brown, dry stuff, the carbon layers, the bedding that they live in– you fill up the bedding, you dampen it, and you marry it with your food scraps. The worms go in. They eat slowly. They turn it all to black gold."

3. Make a compost bin from a crate in your backyard. "One of my favorite things to do is a bucket composting boot camp, which is which is essentially taking a five-gallon bucket, which you can get for free or you can get for a few bucks at the local hardware store. And essentially, if you have a drill and you have determination, you can do it really easily. They can all be adapted, because all they are are closed containers with holes for air and moisture to leach out of, right?"

4. Make lasagna compost. "So what I love about lasagna gardening, especially for small spaces, is that you can be strategic. Let’s say you have a raised bed outside that you’re trying to fill up, right? You put your browns, you put a layer of greens, your shredded cardboard, then you might put a layer of already existing soil, which then inoculates kind of the world around it with the microbes and the goodies. You just keep going. Lasagna, lasagna, lasagna. Layers after layers, and in time, it decomposes, and you’ve got an amazing raised bed full of good soil."

5. Freeze your compost if you are leaving it in a bin inside for a long time. "Freezing is a great way to kill pest eggs and all sorts of other things that are on the surfaces of the food that you have, so that if you wanted to place it back in the bin after freezing it, there’s less of a likelihood that you’d have some sort of bloom."