Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.
How can I keep kitchen scraps indoors for a few days without odor or fruit flies developing?
You don’t need a fancy compost pail with a filter to keep your kitchen compost odor- and fly-free. One easy option for kitchen composting is to put food waste into a large, sealable plastic bag. To save space and speed decomposition, you can chop up the larger pieces of waste before adding them to the bag. Keep the bagged scraps refrigerated until you’re ready to add them to your outdoor compost pile.
Another option is a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a tight-fitting lid. Line the bottom with a few sheets of newspaper, then fill a separate container with carbonaceous materials, such as sawdust, leaves, shredded newspaper or garden soil. Keep both containers in the garage or just outside your back door. Dump food waste in the large plastic bucket, then top it with a thin layer of the carbonaceous material, which will control odors and fruit flies and will balance the high-nitrogen materials. Stir occasionally, keeping the bucket tightly closed the rest of the time. When the container is full, add the contents to your outdoor compost pile.
You could also consider vermicomposting (worm composting), which you can do indoors. Read more about it in How to Set Up a Simple, Homemade Vermicomposting Bin.
— Vicki Mattern, Contributing Editor
Above: Collecting kitchen scraps in a plastic bag will help keep rotten odors and fruit flies at bay.
Photo Courtesy iStockphoto.com/Lucentius
Vicki Mattern is a contributing editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, book editor and freelance magazine writer. She has edited or co-authored seven books on gardening, and lives and works from her home in northwestern Montana. You can find Vicki on Google+.