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Composting in an Apartment: Turning Green Waste into Black Gold

Composting in an apartment, turning your green waste into black gold is something that I would encourage anyone to do. Having lived in an apartment for almost twelve years it was certainly rewarding to compost the fruit and vegetable peelings. The black gold is the result of composting and can enrich your potted plants. 

Composting in an apartment. The image shows lemon peelings in a compost bin

Living in an apartment doesn’t mean missing out on the joys of gardening. With a little creativity, you can turn your small space into a productive balcony garden. Even if you don’t have access to a rooftop, you can still have a green space. But what do you do with all those clippings, leaves, and kitchen scraps? Composting is the answer. In addition to lowering your wastage, it also produces a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be used to nourish your plants.

The Benefits to Composting in an Apartment

Composting is a natural process in which organic matter breaks down into organic material, a dark, crumbly substance. This organic material is full of nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that plants need to develop and flourish. Composting also improves soil structure, making it easier for plant roots to grow and absorb water and nutrients.

By composting your green waste, you divert it from the landfill, where it would otherwise produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Also, composting greatly reduces on the need for chemical fertilizers, which are harmful to the environment.

How to Compost in an Apartment

Composting in an apartment is easy and can be done in a small space. All you need is a container with a lid to hold your compost. You can use a specially designed-compost bin or simply a plastic bucket. Drill some holes in the sides and bottom of the container to allow for air circulation and drainage.

To start composting in an apartment you will need a storage box with a lid on, just like the images shows.

Start by adding a layer of shredded newspaper or dry leaves to the bottom of the container. This will help absorb any excess moisture and supply the carbon needed to balance out the nitrogen-rich kitchen scraps. Add your kitchen scraps, such as fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds. Do not add animal products, such as meat or dairy, as they attract pests and create an unpleasant smell.

Once you’ve added your kitchen scraps, cover them with another layer of shredded newspaper or dry leaves. Repeat the process until the container is full. It is essential that you keep the compost moist, but not too humid. If it’s too dry, add some water; if it’s too wet, add some more dry leaves.

The composting process will take a few weeks to several months, depending on the temperature and moisture level. Once the compost is ready, it will be dark, crumbly, and smell earthy. Use it to feed your balcony plants or houseplants by mixing it with potting soil. Alternatively, you can sprinkle it on top of the soil.

Gardening on a Balcony

The images shows two balcony plants in terracotta post. One in flower and one displaying green foliage.

Composting is just one part of balcony gardening. If you’re new to gardening, start with easy-to-grow plants, such as herbs, lettuces, and cherry tomatoes. You can grow these in containers or hanging baskets. Choose a place that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day and protects your plants from wind and extreme temperatures.

Water your plants regularly and fertilize them with compost tea, made by steeping compost in water for a few days. This will give your plants extra nutrients and help prevent diseases.

Over 30 per cent of the average household bin can be composted – that’s nearly 150kg a year, which is about the weight of a baby elephant!


Composting in an apartment is an easy and rewarding way to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your balcony garden. By following these simple steps, you can turn your green waste into black gold and create a healthy environment for your plants. So, start composting today and watch your garden flourish!

If you want to learn more about organic composting then the Organic Gardening Organisation have a very affordable online course.

Happy Gardening, Kristian

Have you subscribed yet? It’s the easiest way to delve deeper on this topic. The following articles in this series will be coming soon and I would hate for you to miss out on this!

Composting for beginners  

The following articles will be coming your way soon!

Vegetables for small spaces: indoors and outdoors – do you have no space at home but would like to grow some of your own food? 

Vegetables for small spaces checklist – Do’s and Don’ts to help you grow successful crops in your own garden

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