Composting in a City

I have been composting for over one year now. This seems to shock people when I tell them because I live in New York City in an apartment without a backyard. My secret? The freezer! It is the perfect way to compost in an urban environment because it prevents smell, gives you protection from any insects or mold, and is extremely simple to do! I take mine to the Union Square Greenmarket, but there are plenty of drop-off locations throughout NYC as well as many other cities across the country!

What is compost?
Compost is a nutrient-rich, dark, crumbly material that helps improve soil health and provides nutrients to plants. It is created by the natural decomposition of organic material (like food scraps) that turns the nutrients from once-living materials into humus, the rich, organic component of soil.

How do I compost?
I compost by using a leftover paper bag, which you can recycle at the drop-off location, or an upcycled soil bag (I still haven’t been able to find loose organic soil) and I keep it in my freezer until I am ready to drop it off at the market.

What is compostable? 
Each city has certain things that you can and can not compost, but the NYC list can be found here.


Indoor Plants

Being from New York and being.. well.. human, I have an affinity for being surrounded by green. Unfortunately, being enveloped by lots of brown buildings and one sidewalk tree doesn’t quite cut it. In a study by NASA, it is recommended that you have one potted plant per 100 square feet of home. Okay for most of us in NYC that means 4 plants max, but they also list the plants that are the most effective at filtering benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroetylene.  As an attempt to wake up to green every morning I created a window garden of sorts. Some ferns, some succulents, and an avocado tree. A WHAT!? Yes. I traded an awesome man with a cart full of cuttings for a jar of my homemade ginger beer (recipe to come) last December. It was a lovely young sprouted seed with twelve small leaves and has grown SO much since then I had to give it a pot of its own! So today, spending only $20 and armed with some home-cold-brewed iced coffee, I replanted a bunch of things, bought two new pots, soil, AND a new succulent for my windowsill. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

The tools: Organic Potting Mix, Organic Cactus Mix, 2 new pots, new cactus, gloves (I use fair-trade dishwashing gloves), and a shovel (I used a grapefruit spoon that I got today at Goodwill for 49 cents).
Step 1: Put new pot, cactus, and soil in the sink to prevent a giant mess & to catch any extra soil to reuse

Step 2: Fill new pot 1/3 of the way with soil

Step 3: Put cactus in and fill in with soil leaving about 1 inch on the top
Repeat with second plant

I separated my avocado from my coleus and sunflowers

The view I wake up to every morning!