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I need a HOA friendly way to start composting.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

We live in the 'burbs, renting a house with a very small yard. We have a thick book of HOA rules, everything has to look neat and pretty. Small yards mean our neighbors are affected by us because we are so close. I want to start composting, but need to do it on a small scale and it has to be discreet. I really don't want to do vermicomposting.


I've seen nice looking small compost bins at places like Lowes, but if I can do something without spending that much money I'd prefer that. DH is on board for just buying one of those, but I want to consider all of our choices first.


Any suggestions for us?

post #2 of 14

I have the same issue. I have two of the small plastic bins (Earth Machines), and they really are too small to do an effective job of composting. The pile is always too small to get hot, and it is awkward to turn, so they make compost very, very slowly. I can fill a bin in less than a season, and at the end of two years it still won't be finished composting, so I run out of space quickly.


Instead I've switched over to trench composting. It is perfect for a neighborhood with a hoa. You just dig a deep hole anywhere in your garden, dump your compost pail contents in and cover it up. It works great, there is no compost bin sitting out, and you don't have to worry about balancing the compost pile to avoid the smell - there is no smell. The only downside is that you can't compost once the ground freezes.

Edited by Owen'nZoe - 5/2/11 at 6:22pm
post #3 of 14

A lot of the DIY bins that I've seen in my internet travels are just big trash cans with locking lids that you drill some holes into for drainage. Occasionally, you roll it around to mix up everything inside.


That's what I am planning on doing because the trash can is only going to cost about $10. That seemed like the easiest, cheapest way to get started.


Since I haven't actually used it yet, I don't know if there would be any smell issues. I was just thinking that having a trash can outside should be ok with your HOA.

post #4 of 14

I had a friend who used to do what bignerpie describes and had occasional smell issues, and occasional maggot issues.  (Maggots would all crawl out of the can to go...you know, do whatever they do before they become winged...it was pretty gross for about a day and then they'd all be gone.)  She added almost no browns to her can, though, because she wasn't actually trying to make compost - she would save up all her kitchen scraps and bring them to my house twice a year for composting.  thumb.gif  With a proper balance of browns and greens it probably would have been okay.  Sometimes in the winter moisture would fail to drain from the can because it would freeze first, then in the spring it would be a bit stinky until everything got thawed out, but again with better balance that probably wouldn't have happened.

post #5 of 14

You could get a 35 gallon garbage can for $9 and drill some holes into the bottom.


I just have large piles around my yard,and since I don't flip and mix they are slow to compost but don't smell.


You could get some red wigglers in a plastic bin and have them eat your food scraps.Then add the worm poo dirt to your yard. I have RWW in my laundry room.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Some interesting ideas to consider here. I'll look into them and see if one will work for us. Thanks!!

post #7 of 14

I am keeping an eye on this thread... I have a small new garden and LOVE it so far, but am wondering if we'd benefit from composting. I have ni idea whatsover how to do it but love the idea of it. As for now, I Am right down the road from a cow farmer and we can have his old poo for free. :) I'd like to not waste dinner scraps though.


post #8 of 14

I know you don't want to do worms but you don't say why


We keep ours (worm bin) inside and freeze our scraps (easier to decompose and lessons the smell) and they just live in a closet--it works wonderful for us and we get tons of compost.


nothing outside, no one knows about them, no odor and fast compost

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Um, I won't do worms for the silliest possible reason. They kind of give me the creeps, and the thought of them being in my house is just too much for me to handle. redface.gif


post #10 of 14

Compost tumbler?  behind a nice plant-covered trellis?  (I'm thinking you'd be less likely to have smell/mess issues that are more possible with a regular pile with the tumbler).

post #11 of 14

sorry-----DO you get some outside they are eating machines and a sign of good soil

post #12 of 14

Oh, OP, I just thought of something.  Depending on where you live, sometimes local governments will offer small compost bins for sale at really reasonable prices, to decrease the public waste stream.  It's a long shot, but might be worth looking in to.

post #13 of 14

You don't need a bin. You can do trench composting easily.



post #14 of 14

I signed up for a compost and water management class and will be getting a free compost bin and a free rain barrel. Thanks for the idea, Mindymom!

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