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Composting at home

Here you can find information how to start composting at home – either in the city apartment or detached house!


1. Worm composter

The worm composter is a small-sized indoor composter, in which red worms (Eisenia fetida) are the most important decomposers. Although worm comporter is not suitable for all types of biowaste, it is great for e.g. fruit and vegetable peels, wet paper towels and food scraps there.

Watch the video: Establishment of a worm composter


2. Easy composting guide for detached houses

Especially for detached houses composting biowaste on their own property is a convenient way to handle biowaste management. In a thermally insulated and vermin-protected composter, the waste generated during cooking and food residues turn into compost soil, which, when diluted with regular soil, is the best substrate for growing in a home garden. Sorting biowaste also saves on mixed waste costs, when the amount of mixed waste decreases. Composting is also a nice and rewarding activity.


Selecting a composter

You should consider whether the composter will be acquired for year-round use or for summer use only. Are biowaste, garden waste or both composted? Gardening waste can be composted in open compost. How many people’s biowaste should fit in the composter? Is one composter enough or do you need more? When composting food waste, the composter must usually be thermally insulated and protected from harmful animals. Only the use of the correct composter can justify extending the emptying interval for mixed waste.


Place of the composter in the yard

The composter should be placed in a place with windshield and which is warm but not roasted. It is not advisable to place a composter directly under ventilation windows or close to the air conditioning duct. It must also be ensured that there is sufficient distance to the well or water area. If a composter is to be placed close to the boundary of the plot, it is advisable to discuss the matter in advance with the neighbor and check the compost regulations of the municipality of residence. It is advisable to reserve enough space around the composter for maintaining it and storing the litter.


Necessary tools

To care the composter, you need a stirring rod so that the contents of the composter can be mixed. In addition, litter (bedding/blended material), a ladle and a container are needed to prevent it from getting wet.


When can you start composting?

Spring is the best time to start composting. In cool seasons, starting composting is challenging, as composting mass is low, the amount of heat produced is low and cool slows down decomposition.


Using a composter

Basic compost care is easy. In most cases, it is enough to check how the material smells and feels a few times a week. Nature does its job if biowaste and mixed material are put in layers in the right proportion.

Biowaste does not need to be packed for compost. It is best to put the waste in the collection container as it is; you can put a piece of newspaper, a piece of used kitchen paper or a shredded egg cell at the bottom of it. Large, solid pieces, such as heads of cabbage or bread, should be chopped and eggshells crushed so that they break down better.

Put in a compost
Do not put in a compost
Food sources
Substances that do not decompose or can poison compost
Coffee and tea grounds, filter and tea bags
Ash or lime (compost becomes too alkaline and prevents activity of microorganisms)
Tissue papers
Cigarette butts and cleaning waste
Gnaws from cages of domestic animals
Hazardous waste, such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, pressure-impregnated wood
Plant waste, including weeds, preferably before the seeds develop
Seeds of invasive alien plants, such as giant pipes or giant balsam


Blending material (mixing agent)

The biowaste should be covered with the same amount of blended material, so it must be reserves fairly well. A good storage location for it is a container with a lid near the composter. Blending material, or litter, is needed to improve the airiness of the composter, to bind moisture and odors, and to bring carbon as an energy source for decomposers.

As a blending material e.g. leaf and needle chips, cutter chips, peat, wood chippings, wood peeling waste, shredded straw or a special commercial blend are suitable. Different blends have different properties.

Blending material
Dry leaf and needle stick
The leaf waste alone easily collapses into a compact sheet when moistened and should mix with less coarse material
Cutter chips of unprocessed wood
Airy, does not freeze when dry, does not effectively absorb moisture or nitrogen, requires post-composting
Airy, decomposes quickly
Crust cover
Binding odour, ammonia, moisture, contains a lot of trace elements; the resin may prevent flies from reproducing; slowly decomposes; a lot of humus is produced
Unfertilised peat
Odour, ammonia, moisture; not very airy; easy to freeze; decomposes quickly; good blend when mixed with cutter chips or chippings 1:1
Straw, grass
Slowly decomposes; a good mixing agent when chopped; the grass is a good accelerator for heating the composter



A suitable amount of good blending material usually keeps the compost mass sufficiently dry and spongy. You can spot holes in it every week in a bucket or with an aeration rod. Well-functioning compost does not need to be mixed very often. Mixing should be avoided in winter. Fluffing the surface parts (20-30 cm) a few times a month is usually enough; at the same time, the mass can be turned from the edges to a hotter center.

In larger shared composters, it is often necessary to mix more thoroughly every week or two. Make sure that the compost mass is moist when fluffing, dry compost may dust mold spores into the respiratory system.



Water the compost if it looks dry or there are ants in it. Appropriately moist compost feels like a moist sponge in your hand. You can use nettle water for watering, which is a good alternative, especially for moistening leaf compost.



Persistent low temperatures may freeze even a thermally insulated composter, especially if there is too little biowaste and therefore not enough compost mass, or insulation is insufficient. In cold conditions, the composter can be heated with hot water bottles (or heated stones), for example. An already frozen composter can be filled normally with blended substances. In spring composting process starts again as the weather gets warmer.


Use of composting products

Compost as such is not ready for use. The dark “strong” mass in the compost must be diluted by mixing garden compost with leaves, branches and grass. When it is discharged into garden waste compost, for example, there may still be visible waste in it, such as egg shells. Compost pulp also speeds up the burning of garden waste.

Spring and early autumn is a good time for emptying the composter. Once the composter has melted in the spring, the oldest compost mass can be emptied. If the composter is emptied in the autumn, there will be room for biowaste generated during the winter. However, the composter should not be completely emptied in the autumn, as the empty composter freezes faster.

Ready-made compost soil is good for planting, fertilizing or as soil, lawn fertilizers or mixed with, for example, a soil from flower bench or vegetable garden. The use of composted toilet waste on a plant soil or in a flower bench requires a longer maturation period.

Compost is too wet and stinky
If the compost does not warm up and smells rotten, it is too wet or tight. Add a mixing agents and mix compost with care
Fly larvae
Turn the surface of the compost deeper into the compost, as flies’ larvae die at a temperature of over 42 degrees Celsius. If compost smells, mix and add a fair amount of mixing agent. Rinse the compost cover and interior walls with hot water.
Compost does not warm up or smell
Ensure sufficient moisture in the compost; when you squeeze the mass, at best liquid is released from it. Dry compost should be watered well with warm water. If the compost contains enough moisture, add nitrogen (e.g. grass shredder, fish gums).
Compost freezes
Don’t worry, you can still add biowaste to compost. Remember to use also the mixing agent. Compost melts in spring, rubber temperature rises. Freezing can be easily prevented with well-insulated compost and by piling snow around the compost as insulation.
Compost melts slowly in spring
Put a hot water bottle or canister in the compost. Open the air ducts completely open and keep the compost stock open.
There are ants in the compost.
Ensure sufficient moisture in the compost and mix the compost.
There’s mould and mushrooms in the compost.
No need to worry, because both belong to compost decomposers.
Compost has mice/rats
There are holes in the compost for animals to enter. Empty the compost as quickly as possible and repair or replace to the intact compost.





Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
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