Compost Basket: Less waste, good soil & food!



The Compost Basket is a “zero waste” initiative based on the permacultural best practice of composting the maximum amount of green waste possible. This tool is perfectly adaptable for community use and gardening.

The idea of the Compost Basket originates from the ecologist Iván Gyulai, who developed the Compost Basket in the Organic Farming program at Hungary’s Gömörszőlős Educational Centre. The structure features a woven-basket design and is equally suitable for the composting of kitchen and garden greens. It is also perfectly suitable for raised beds and cold frames.

Its application is recommended primarily for gardens where there is little room or the soil is not of the highest quality (e.g., contaminated “urban gardens” next to busy roads).

The inner circle, one metre in height, is the compost receptacle itself, while the outer circle, 40 centimetres in height, is the seed bed. Thanks to gravity, the nutrients move nicely from the compost receptacle to the seed bed. This provides continuous nourishment. If we compost high quality material, our vegetables and spice herbs will reward us with speedy growth and an abundant yield.

The composter shown in this picture includes 15 different types of vegetables: two types of tomato, kohlrabi, tarragon,lovage, bear’s garlic, garlic, salad, strawberry, fragaria, curry, lavender, celery, calendula, sage, basil.

The Compost Basket is not just a secure source of nourishment, as a composter it also reduces the quantity of waste by one third.

There are a variety of ways to use the Compost Basket:

  1. The Compost Basket as a planterAs a planter, it is very good for those kinds of plants that like to hang, and whose fruits should not touch the ground. For examle, strawberries and tomatoes thrive in the Compost Basket. Zucchini, peppers, lettuce, kohlrabi, onions, and garlic are also good choices. Spice herbs can also be planted in the Compost Basket, but because these plants are less dependent on rich soil, it is suggested to place them next to the basket. Lavender, sage, lemon grass, calendula, and mint — planted next to the basket — also help to keep away pests. 
  2. Compost Basket as a cold frameIn spring, the Compost Basket can also be used as a cold frame. For example, in one case a vault structure was formed out of twigs, which was then covered with clear plastic. In this case, the outer circle has a different filling. Fresh compost material and fertilizer was placed in the lower area and in the inner circle, to provide warmth and insulation. When using the Compost Basket as a cold frame, one must only pay attention to occasional ventilation and the necessary humidity.

About the Author

Gary Hanko is the public relations and marketing manager at ÖKO-Pack Nonprofit Ltd., as well as a marketing consultant at the Association of Hungarian Rural and Agrotourism. In addition, he is the editor of Today & Tomorrow; a leader of the “Mirror to the World” exhibition in Europe; and a chief organizer of the “Waste to Product” exhibition in Hungary

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