Indoor Composting with garden waste

October 13, 2013 6 Comments

As much as I hate the end of the season because I no longer have a garden full of fresh tomatoes and veggies, I do get excited about turning all the waste into fresh compost for next season. I figured I might as well show off a small indoor compost project that I'm working on. Typically the smallest size pile for traditional thermal composting is 1 yard, but I'm going to use about half of that amount once it's all chopped up and pressed down. 

One of the many challenges of creating a small DIY compost pile is that you are supposed to have all of the ingredients all together at once, and that is tough to do. You have to have the proper combination of green to brown materials and you can't just let the green stuff sit around while it accumulates, it needs to all be ready to go around the same time. That's why I have chosen to try this indoor style small compost pile at the same time I was ripping out all of my tomato plants and other frozen vegetables. 

I took a 100 Gallon smart pot that I use form worm bins and compost, I unfolded it and set it on top of a pallet that I had laying around and put a bottom layer of high fiber brown ingredients like cardboard and paper. Then I added More Greens and kitchen waste




And then more... but remember you don't want any green layers that are more than 6" thick.



Then more brown layer after that, which you can see I started here, but ended up ripping that cardboard up even smaller and then added old leaves and chicken coop pine bedding with some manure in it. 



 Keep stacking the layers until it's full and add a compost activator that has more nitrogen like Chicken manure or some alfalfa or maybe even crab meal. The Calcium and Nitrogen will help with the composting process and help get this baby up to heat. 

I'm really not sure if this will be enough compost to go thermal (They say 1 yard minimum) but worst case scenario I attempted to avoid anything that will have too many seeds in it. If the composts doesn't get as finished as I'd like I will add a few thousand red wigglers from my worm bin and let them tear it apart. 

After I finished adding the ingredients I moistened the pile with some compost tea and wrapped the whole thing in a tarp.

Wish me luck, I'll know in the next week if anything starts to get hot. 


6 Responses

ryan smith
ryan smith

July 27, 2015

I started a bokashi composter bucket for my garden waste. I formed a bottom layer of dry stems that I cut into small pieces and added layers of leaves and bokashi till it was full. it’s been two weeks since I started and no compost juice yet. I cheated and added some buildasoil Mycorrhizae blend to kick start things too.

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April 08, 2015

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December 14, 2014

Interesting. i attempted my first thermo pile and it didnt heat up either. it was around .5 cubic yards total. I was excited to be using the compost calc and watching my pile heat up, but it didnt. previous to reading this, i though maybe it was because i didnt have any manure in there to kickstart things. (i did have some alfalfa)

i too intend to add worms to it and make a bunch of vermicompost/castings, but now i have the problem of what i believe to be whiteflys in the compost material. Its frozen now, but id like to bring it indoors, thaw it out and add worms. but i dont want to introduce the whiteflys to my indoor living area. (my wife doesnt like the fungus gnats we already have flying around)

what if anything can you recommend i do with this material now? Is there a way i can eliminate the bugs before bringing it in? Am i correct in assuming that even though the pile is frozen solid, the bugs are still in their in some dormant larvae stage waiting for warmer weather?

thanks a lot,


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February 10, 2014

Everything Heated up and only got to about 100 degrees maximum which isn’t good enough for me to use.

So I have a simple solution. I added worms and now I’m letting them work that old pile and it’s going to turn out awesome!!

Nothing ruined, but just proved to myself that Bokashi and Wormbin’s are still my best go to indoor winter composting setup.

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