A small yard or urban home need not keep you from making your own compost. Although multiple compost piles may not be an option, you can still compost your kitchen and yard wastes using a small-batch barrel composter.
A small batch composter, a barrel or drum that either rotates on a frame or is rolled around the yard, is an ideal composting solution for the smaller backyard. The barrel composter keeps the decomposing organic material totally enclosed, minimizing odor and pest problems. Regularly rotating the barrel composter keeps the compost mixed and well-aerated, and this yields small batches of finished compost more quickly than many larger compost piles. And don’t entirely write off the compost pile for some urban settings; a well-managed, wire mesh bin could be a fit in some urban backyards.
Compost made in a backyard barrel composter can be used to amend soil for landscape and garden plantings. Urban and suburban soils can usually benefit from compost as a soil amendment. Finished compost can also be spread on lawns and used to mulch around flower, shrubs and trees. Compost can also be mixed with other materials to create a suitable potting soil for indoor and outdoor container gardening. This is a good use for compost produced in a worm bin, an indoor method of composting kitchen wastes using red wiggler worms, which may also fit into many urban settings.
Composting has many benefits to urban areas, whether making compost using a barrel, vermicomposting, or another suitable method. According to the U.S. EPA, 40 percent of municipal yard wastes still go unused as compost or mulch. Composting can turn leaves and other yard wastes into a valuable soil amendment while reducing disposal time and cost. Composting also reduces the amount of kitchen and food wastes thrown out; estimated at some 37 million tons of municipal wastes each year.