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Composting with Foodilizer: How To Supercharge Your Compost Game the Easy Way

Author Bio:

Lesley Thompson is VP of Sustainability & Communications at Food Cycle Science. She's all about driving sustainability, cutting waste, and forging partnerships. Plus, she's leading the charge in researching innovative ways to break down bioplastics and fats with FoodCycler tech! Lesley is a libra, a proud mother of six, and enjoys continually expanding her taste in music.


 

Hey there FoodCycler Fans! 🎉

Ever dreamt of giving your food scraps a second life? Let's dive deep into the world of home composting, supercharged with Foodilizer*!

 

*What even is Foodilizer? Foodilizer is the by-product created by the FoodCycler® as it recycles your food waste. This dry, lightweight and nutrient-rich leftover can be used as a fertilizer in gardening! *Please note that Foodilizer is not the same as compost.To learn more about Foodilizer, check out our blog: The Science Behind FoodCycler: FoodCycler & Foodilizer Explained

 

The Foodilizer Touch: Elevate Your Compost Game ✨

Foodilizer isn't just another composting ingredient; it's a powerful fertilizer chock-full of the nutrients your plants need to thrive. This magical soil amendment can amplify and nourish your existing compost pile, or even stand as a key ingredient to a new one.

The best part? Whether you're a composting pro or just starting out, Foodilizer seamlessly fits into any composting method you fancy.

 

Laying the Foundation for Your Compost Pile 🌱

Starting your very own compost pile? Here's a pro tip: size matters.

Aim for a pile that's around 120L in volume (approximately 4 cubic feet). Why, you ask? A good-sized pile ensures there's enough action going on microbially to generate that essential heat. Think of it like the bustling energy of a busy café – it's the biological activity that brings your compost to life!

Kick things off with approximately 2.25 kg (5lbs) of Foodilizer, our composting superstar. It's the secret sauce that makes everything blend beautifully. And to give your compost the volume it needs, add in fresh or dry yard trimmings and leaves (our favorite browns!). These not only bulk up your pile but also infuse it with carbon.

💡 A little gardening hack for our readers: autumn is the perfect time to stock up on leaves. Store them away, and you'll have a ready supply of browns all year round, provided you have the space.

 

Check out our blog post on using autumn leaves in the garden, and why' it's important to Just Leave 'Em! Why you shouldn't trash your yard waste

 

Composting Basics: Your Starter Kit 🧰

Ready to get your hands dirty? Here's your toolkit:

  • A 5-gallon bucket to hold all the goodness

  • A watering can for that touch of moisture

  • Your trusty Foodilizer (2.25 KG / 5 lbs)

  • Some brown feedstocks, like dried leaves 

  • Mix your Foodilizer with 30L (8 gallons) of your garden soil or purchased compost to create an inoculant. This not only gives your compost a solid start but also introduces some friendly microbes. 

📖 Inoculant: An inoculant, in this case, is stable (finished) compost or soil that is added to a new compost pile to introduce beneficial microbes at the outset, thus setting up its microbiome for success. Inoculants should only be added when setting up the pile.

📖 Feedstocks: The materials that you add to your compost pile, primarily categorized as brown (carbon-rich) and green (nitrogen-rich). 

Striking the Perfect Balance with Foodilizer Ratios 🍀🍂

Now, for the fun part: layering. Alternate between your food scraps and your browns, giving each layer a loving sprinkle of water. 

The below recipes have been tested with both vegetarian (no animal proteins) and omnivorous ingredients (mix of vegetable and animal proteins) respectively. Differentiating between the two is important, as animal proteins contain more nitrogen and will therefore affect the chemical composition of the compost pile.

Note that the recipes display the difference in feedstock ratios required by different diets by colour:

Green = Vegetarian

Orange = Omnivore

What are browns? "Browns" in the world of composting means materials composed of mostly carbon (ie. dry materials that will not add more nitrogen to a pile) such as cardboard, dead leaves, etc. 

Here are the ✨MAGIC RATIOS✨ for composting with Foodilizer, based on different diets and feedstocks:

Fresh Yard Trimmings

Vegetarian: 6 parts inoculant, 1 part Foodilizer, 10 parts fresh yard trimmings, 20 parts dry leaves (C:N ratio: 37)

Omnivore: 6 parts inoculant, 1 part Foodilizer, 7 parts fresh yard trimmings, 24 parts dry leaves (C:N ratio: 38)

Dry Yard Trimmings:

Vegetarian: 6 parts inoculant, 1 part Foodilizer, 14 parts fresh yard trimmings, 10 parts dry leaves (C:N ratio: 38)

Omnivore: 6 parts inoculant, 1 part Foodilizer, 10 parts fresh yard trimmings, 20 parts dry leaves (C:N ratio: 38)

Cardboard and Fresh Yard Trimmings:

Vegetarian: 6 parts inoculant, 1 part Foodilizer, 12 parts fresh yard trimmings, 2 parts cardboard, 20 parts dry leaves (C:N ratio: 38)

Omnivore: 6 parts inoculant, 1 part Foodilizer, 10 parts fresh yard trimmings, 2 parts cardboard, 20 parts dry leaves (C:N ratio: 36)

Cardboard and Dry Yard Trimmings:

Vegetarian: 6 parts inoculant, 1 part Foodilizer, 16 parts fresh yard trimmings, 2 parts cardboard, 10 parts dry leaves (C:N ratio: 40)

Omnivore: 6 parts inoculant, 1 part Foodilizer, 10 parts fresh yard trimmings, 2 parts cardboard, 20 parts dry leaves (C:N ratio: 39)

 

 

Maintaining Your Compost Pile

Foodilize!

With the foundation of your homemade compost pile firmly in place, keep adding a sprinkle of Foodilizer every week as you process cycles. The amount of Foodilizer added weekly in this case is estimated to be approximately 1lb, given regular use of the FoodCycler®. If you plan to add more than this, be sure to balance your pile out with additional browns to maintain that key C:N ratio!

The volume of Foodilizer produced by an average household in this case is estimated to be approximately 0.45kg (0.7L) per week. This amount can be safely added to your compost every week!

 

Monitor Moisture 👀

Stay vigilant! Keep a watchful eye on your compost's moisture levels. The squeeze test is your trusty guide: grab a handful, give it a squeeze! If your compost doesn't have the consistency of a wrung-out sponge, you'll need to make some small adjustments:

Too wet? ➝ 🍂 More browns to the rescue!

Too dry? ➝ 💦 A dash of water will sort it out!

For more information on what the right composition of your compost should look like, check out this resource from the Institute For Local Self-Reliance (IFLSR)!

 

Do the Compost Hokey-Pokey and Turn It All Around!

The contents of your compost bin should be mixed and agitated every 2-3 weeks to ensure sufficient airflow throughout the pile. This can be as simple as using a shovel or pitchfork to turn the contents for a few seconds! 

Crafting Compost: Final Steps 🌍

After about two months, add (in layers) the same volume of "browns" you used to start the pile to maintain that optimal C:N Ratio. Mix it up and let nature work its magic. After about three months, let your compost rest and rejuvenate for a month or two. And then, just like that, you're ready to reap the benefits of the nutrient-packed compost you've lovingly nurtured.

 


 

A Note On Terminology:

The FoodCycler® is a countertop electric food waste recycler that breaks down food scraps through a mechanical process into a dry, lightweight by-product that can be used in gardening applications as a fertilizer. The FoodCycler® and other electric food waste recyclers are not composters, nor do they produce compost or soil as they do not require additional microbes to break down food waste with bacteria. However, the term "electric composter" has been used to describe electric food waste recyclers.

 


 

References

Gaskin, J. W., Hartel, P., Little, E., Harris, G. (2012). Soil Inoculants. [online] Uga.edu. Available at: https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C990&title=soil-inoculants#:~:text=Inoculants%20are%20used%20for%20a,one%20that%20is%20mutually%20beneficial. [Accessed 21 Mar. 2024].

Project Report, Regenerative Waste Labs: Recipe Development for Home and Municipal Composting of Foodilizer, June 2, 2023.