We live in a small apartment (for now) and I was desperate to get composting without any complaints so I tried different ways and I eventually got to this method. Its basically a 200 liter plastic drum with a piece of cloth on top fixed into place with the locking ring. It helps a LOT with the humidity and it keeps flies out. I basically collect fresh greens inside our home for a few days and I just dump them in there with a good proportion of browns. I try to mix it up every two or three days by putting on the original lid with the locking ring, knocking it over and turning it with my foot when it gets too heavy. So far so good, I just collected some compost a few months ago, sifted it and planted some spinach, lettuce, mint, oregano and cilantro. Theyre barely sprouting but they seem to be growing nicely. I also use compost from the previous batch to inoculate the next batch of compost that is underway.
Now, the compost smelled perfectly fine throughout the process, with it fermenting a bit but if that happened I added a good amount of browns. I did notice that leaves and other browns like egg carton didnt decompose so well and it didnt heat up much. I imagine it must be because of how little it was, just half of the drum was full so it wouldnt be too heavy and it decomposed to round a third of the volume. I also did notice some white patches on top of the compost while it was sitting for a few days, I looked online and according to what I read it said that it must be Actinomycetes, which indicates a good decomposition of fibrous materials. I also noticed some small arthropods and flies (no larva though) that were probably helping with the composting process and at one point there was a lot of them, there arent many right now. I also remember I added liquefied mushroom, coffee grounds, pill bugs and so many things... it was a free for all!
My question is about the whole "cold" composting process, do you all think it was it mainly fungal, bacterial or insect dominated decomposition and do you all think the compost produced is generally of good quality? Any recommendations? Thanks.
It will have been a combination of all of the above. Anoxic zones in the barrel will dictate which happened where.
Did you do anything to add oxygen to the compost barrel, Mike, other than opening and turning it?
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Sorry for the delay in answering, I hadn't gotten any notifications; basically the top allows air to go in and out while keeping out the flies, I just turn it every now and then, it gets to a point where I don't turn it anymore and it composts pretty well. I get a nice fluffy compost although the egg carton doesn't degrade as well as Id like but I've noticed that the compost I made with only egg carton had an amazing water retention ability; I'm going to try it out in the desert to see how it works!