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EarlyBird March 27, 2018 06:10 PM

Composting in 5 Gallon bucket
Hi all,

While I dream of living on a big piece of land, I'm currently in an apartment in Los Angeles and don't have any room to make a big compost heap. So, I use two 5 gallon buckets which I've perforated with many holes to allow for air circulation.

I fill the buckets with about 1/3rd fresh "green" vegetable scraps from the kitchen, and the rest with "brown" fallen leaves. I roll the buckets and flip them every week or so.

Do you know any tricks to make them compost faster? Any other pointers or recommendations?

Thank you.

Salsacharley March 27, 2018 07:00 PM

Make sure they are moist. If the brown stuff doesn't get moist it will take longer to compost. You can splash in a cup or so of water when you mix if it is dry.

EarlyBird March 27, 2018 07:03 PM

Thanks. I wonder about how much time a properly managed bucket should take to be completed and ready to use?

eyegrotom March 27, 2018 07:13 PM

Hi The amount of time,depends on a lot of things. Cut up your kitchen waste in small pieces, same with the brown waste.I use my weed eater for that also keep the mix damp and in the sun. Mike

EarlyBird March 27, 2018 08:28 PM

I appreciate that. I noticed that when we went through a chilly spell here in So Cal the decomposition slowed down. Now we're looking at warmer weather, so that should help.


Nan_PA_6b March 27, 2018 08:30 PM

You could buy compost starter.

MissS March 27, 2018 10:58 PM

Add some soil or mycorrihizae. This is to get the beneficial bacteria and fungi growing which will help to break it down faster. The soil has these things in it and is free. So add a few handfuls of garden dirt to the mix to move it along.

bower March 30, 2018 09:34 AM

How about worms? I think they would speed it up.

I need a new composting strategy to avoid feeding and attracting rats. I like the sound of the buckets. "Perforations" don't sound like a rodent could get in. Just wondering if it's easy enough to keep it aerated and not smelly.

Nan_PA_6b March 30, 2018 10:39 AM

With a tight-fitting lid, you could roll the bucket around. Or have two buckets, and dump from one to the other to aerate.


bower March 30, 2018 10:57 AM

Yeah. The virtue of my old style lazy heap compost was never getting any on ya. Bucket composts tend to be drippy .. or maybe I'm wrong?

Salsacharley March 30, 2018 12:36 PM

You're not wrong. I have a 30 gal plastic trash can I perforated for composting and I had to set it up on blocks with a pan underneath to catch the tea that drips from it. Hey, that's compost tea! I dilute it and use it.

bower March 30, 2018 01:03 PM

I'm down with the tea for plants! :yes: Just don't want to waste any... on my dirty clothes. :lol:

AlittleSalt March 30, 2018 01:50 PM

I have wondered about the compost tumblers. Not for my own use, but just in general. This thread makes me think about them. A general search - [URL][/URL]

EarlyBird March 30, 2018 02:05 PM

The contents of my bucket system do get stinkier and a bit slimier than it would be in a regular heap. While I was preparing my plot over the fall and winter, I placed the buckets over the spots where I knew I would plant so the tea would drip into the ground. I'll be finding a way to catch the tea now.

Nan_PA_6b March 30, 2018 06:07 PM

[QUOTE=AlittleSalt;692322]I have wondered about the compost tumblers. Not for my own use, but just in general. This thread makes me think about them. A general search - [URL][/URL][/QUOTE]
I own two tumblers They take a lot of work & mess out of composting. It takes forever to turn stuff into compost. I had to add compost starter to get results. But you just have to spin the compost every day or two and water occasionally. But what to do with all the compostables that accrue during the intervening months?


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