Mellow Compost Lab

 Mellow Lab Overview

Welcome to our home composting environment. We share our experience, experiments, results and data analysis.

We have a small scale setting with five compost bins (total capacity of 1520L). We like to call this environment our lab; named  the Mellow Compost Lab (MCL) and located in our back garden in north Leeds (UK). Here you may find interesting facts and figures on the input waste in our bins (greens,  browns etc.), how we manage the composting cycle and the resulting finished compost (black gold).  

We have been making home compost for over 12 years and completed 56 bin cycles so far. We discuss

  • experiments, charts, results and interpretations

  • lessons learnt, what worked for us and not

  • theory, practice and experience

There are plenty of very useful online documents, videos and websites explaining the basics of home composting. The aim of the Mellow lab is to complement these by sharing experimental findings of home composting over periods of time.

Method of home compost makings: There are different ways of making home compost. We have taken an active approach for all our cycles:

  1. Mix and chop all green and brown waste ingredients before topping-up a bin
  2. We prepare and top up waste on a weekly (to fortnightly basis) whenever possible
  3. We stir, aerate  and mix compost bins to encourage decomposition (weekly or fortnightly) whenever possible
  4. We collect the full compost once complete in one batch

By way of examples, some interesting ratios and rates

  • We generate ~270L of organic waste material per month (through kitchen & garden)
  • Our finished compost (FC)  annual average output is ~ 1030L
  • The organic input waste loses  of its volume to give  of finished compost
  • A typical compost cycle finished in ~ 7.5 months

The different systems for producing home compost are greatly influenced by 

  • Aim of home composting
  • Time available for composting
  • Effort we are prepared to put in
  • Knowledge applied to get a better decayed compost
  • Rate at which green and brown waste is available
  • Other considerations: Space available in the garden and cost  of bins & bins/containers & tools.

The main themes (menu items and categories) on this site are:

Mellow Lab

  Concepts, objectives and background

Input Waste

  Raw waste material to make compost (green, brown and other additional/optional elements)

Finished Compost

  Resulting finished product, its various usage

Cycles & Phases

  The preparation and maintenance cycle of the compost material to completion

Compost Bins

  Features and comparison of bin types