The compost bins resting outside our apartment

Like always, here is a complete, detailed, unadulterated, raw, truthful update on our two compost bins 🙂

We would also like to announce that the contents in the green bin are exactly one month old today, while the contents in the pink bin are exactly two weeks old.

Both bins were loosely covered with their lids; we did not press the lids all the way down as we wanted to provide some aeration.

Both bins had remained completely odourless, clean, dry and pest-free on the outside. There were a few ants crawling in the vicinity, but they are always crawling around there, whether we were composting or not.

Here are a few pictures of the bins before we opened them:

Completely odourless, clean, dry, pest-free

A closer look. Pardon me for the slight hay mess in the middle, I was quite careless when I added it the last time 😛

Wonder why we are using hay? We do hail it as our favourite type of ‘brown‘ to be added to the compost bins. For more information on why and how we got hay in the first place, click here.

We use little plastic containers like this to prop up the bins. The drainage holes at the bottom make sure that mosquitoes cannot breed. Alternatively, you may use stones, bricks, tupperware or boxes.

This improves aeration under and inside the bins; note that there are pre-drilled holes at the bottom of the bins!

Also notice how we had positioned the bin right above the drainage canal. This allows quick and convenient drainage of any excess liquids from the bins.

No pests except for a few wandering ants in the vicinity. However, there are always ants there - whether we compost or not!

Harmless, wandering, (bored) ants

A closer look at the contents in the pink bin

Yet a closer look!

Notice that the ‘greens‘ and ‘browns‘ have gradually combined together and turned darker in colour. The top layer (hay) remains as an effective odour controller (biofilter) and heat insulator. (Note: A compost pile is happier when it is kept warm.)

As you can see, there is still plenty of water condensation going on in the pink bin – a good sign that the compost is active and having its right amount of moisture!

Likewise for the contents in the green bin:

Contents in the green bin

A closer look - notice how it displays similar observations as seen in the pink bin

Nevertheless, we noticed one distinct difference between both bins – there was a noticeable number of small flies in the pink bin, while the green bin showed scarcely any (maybe 2 to 3).

Here is a video taken to better illustrate the difference:

This observation is similar to the one we had the past week. For more information, click here.

Once again, it could be due to the fact that the pink bin was left uncovered for a longer time than the green bin. This might have allowed some fruit flies to enter and lay eggs there – we remember not seeing any flies before we closed the pink bin!

Upon uncovering both bins, the small flies left. Only a few (maybe 2 to 4) remained and hovered around the bins. This was quite strange to us, as we thought the flies might stay.

We believe the top covering (hay) could have been the solution. In fact, the hay had kept the top of the compost piles completely dry. There were some mild smells when we uncovered both bins, but they quickly dissipated, and the compost bins continued to remain completely dry and odour-free. (We believe the mild smells are likely to be caused by a slight anaerobic condition when both bins had their lids on for a few days.)

Lookin' clean, good and pleasant, we say!

Top view of the pink bin

Top view of the green bin

No flies, no smells

As you can see, composting outside your HDB apartment can be that easy and unobstructive. We even decided to be more daring – we left both bins uncovered the entire day (since 9am), and even allowed rainwater to fall in! If you recall, there was a heavy downpour today.

This was what we saw at 7.30pm:

The conditions of the bins remained the same despite heavy rain and being left uncovered the entire day!

NO smells, NO flies!

Closeup top view of pink bin

Closeup top view of green bin

In other words, despite being unattended for an entire day, compounded with rainwater falling in, both bins had remained “unscathed” and “unperturbed” by its surrounding nature elements.

However, we might need a couple of days to reaffirm this, as we are not sure if any organisms (e.g. flies, beetles etc) had gotten into the bins and laid any eggs. We might have the flies reoccurring just like in the early part of this entry. If this happens, we will let you know!

Next, we are convinced hay has played a huge and important role in today’s observations. It could have soaked up most of the rainwater moisture (since it is such a dry material) and then gradually evaporated it back into the atmosphere. When I touched the hay this evening, they only felt a little damp.

Here is a video of it:

Amazing, isn’t it? 🙂

And you know what? We have been so inspired by today’s results that we have decided to leave the bins uncovered overnight! Our direct neighbours also seem to be away today, so tonight would be perfect timing to try this out.

We can’t wait to share updates on this tomorrow! Stay tuned!

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