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Composting in Pots

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I compost my kitchen scraps, grass cutting, and leaves in pots. I don't have room for composting bins or a space in the ground. It works fine, I have tons of worms and the kitchen scraps are devoured very quickly. I was attending a gardening class at one of our local nurseries and we got on the subject of using compost. The person leading the class said not to use compost in pots, as it is too high in nitrogen and will burn the plants.

I generally mix the compost with soil and have had good luck with growing my vegetables in pots, but wondered if I should be concerned? I am trying to not have to buy potting soil and was hoping that by mixing the compost with my regular dirt I could create a healthy soil for my container plants. Am I causing more damage to the plants and good? Please help.

Hardiness Zone: 10b

By Janice from CA

Recent Answers

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By Janice [1]03/02/2011

I just have some large plastic flower pots that I've purchased at Home Depot. In fact they are the same large pots that I put my tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers in (I have a couple extra). I just started by putting in a little bit of soil in the bottom, then the kitchen scraps, a few dry leaves (when I have them) and some grass cutting that I saved in a trash bag from the summer. Each week I just add my kitchen scraps, a little more dirt, and if I have dry leaves or grass cuttings I'll add them. I mix it all up with a small trowel and cover the pot with a black trash bag. When I first stated I noticed after a couple of weeks a few red worms (they probably got in the pot either through the drain holes in the bottom or from the grass cuttings I had stored).

I never bought any worms at all they just appeared. And now whenever I turn the soil there are tons of big fat red worms. We have always had worms in our soil (big night crawlers in our grass) so I guess we live in an area where worms are very abundant. On a side note, the reason I cover the pots is to keep it dark, I read that worms like it dark. And during the warmer summer months at least once or twice a week, I add some water (not a lot) to the pots to keep it moist. During the winter the kitchen scraps have enough moisture.

By Becky [4]03/01/2011

I was wondering what type of pots you are using. I don't have a lot of space either and would like to do some composting. I saw where those plastic storage tubs could be used for that. I do have room to use the tub. Where did you get your worms?

By Justin02/22/2011

The below link is a similar idea to yours, but they use a small portion of ground to bury in the compost bin:
http://www.peoplepoweredmachines.com/greencone/index.html

Burying a portion of it in the ground would be best. But if you plan to keep it in pots I would make sure your compost is getting plenty of oxygen by drilling small holes in the pot. Also moving the stuff around in the pot every couple of weeks would be good too. Add some moisture every now and then (but not too much moisture or it will start to decompose into a moldy mess which is not what you want. Mold can be very harmful to the respiratory system, you should use a dust mask when mixing compost anyway). Make sure your bin has a lid to keep the mold and other pathogens from entering your home! Keeping it outside or possibly in the garage would be best.

You may want to introduce some beneficial microbes like BOKASHI into your compost bin as well:
http://www.squidoo.com/bokashi
http://www.gaiam.com/product/all+fo ... ecycling+compost+kit+with+bokashi.do

Some of the best things to put in your soil besides composted fruits and veggies is composted animal byproducts like fish emulsion, bonemeal, composted chicken crap etc. You would not want this in your compost bin but these things are very beneficial, probably more beneficial than composted veggie scraps from your kitchen.

Also, you will want some trace minerals in there. Azomite Powder and or Limestone Powder adds organic trace minerals to soil.

Hopefully all of this will insure a very large reward in your near future! Good luck!

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