composters and proximity to plants

I'm about to put in a patio garden. I live in a townhouse. If I put a composter in the small space I've got, will this be a disease source for the plants I'll have there? What do I do with the "tea" from the bottom of the composter? If it stinks, I'm sure my neighbors won't want me to let it drain into our common slab.
What is a good, self-contained composting unit that I can use on a concrete slab?
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Use a black plastic garbage can, cut or drills 1/4" holes in it about 12" from the bottom( this is for a leachate catch) and then through out the rest of the can. And then only add cut up newspaper, lawn clippings, kitchen waste ect. DO NOT place meat scraps, butter, salid dressings ect in it. Place the can where the sun can hit it, and turn it over by hand once o rtwice a month. With a tight lid on it it will keep the rain and animals out of it. What ever moisture in it will come from the compost it self. The smell should not be to bad then. Or you could by one of those green composers at a store that looks like a barrel placed on a stand.
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vert20 wrote:

Let me make sure I understand by paraphrasing:
You mean, drill holes on up the rest of the can, but not going below 12" from the ground?
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Yes
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What do you want to compost? Kitchen waste? You can do vermiculture in a big Rubbermaid tub or something similar. (A worm bin.) No smell, no fuss. And worms love coffee grounds.
A healthy compost pile or bin is NOT a disease source for plants. But don't compost diseased plants either.
Look here: http://www.plantea.com/moretips.htm My friend, Marion Owen, has a list of 163 things you can compost. I don't know if she's got directions for urban, small space composting on her site, but a Google for urban composting would probably find you lots of cool info.
I'm not sure what a townhouse is. I've been in a condo once. I think they're probably similar. Small decks/patios and neighbors elbow to jowl. (Sorry, my rural bias is showing.)
HTH,
Jan in Alaska
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Jan Flora wrote:

A townhouse is a two story condo, essentially.
I'm angling towards eventually buying some land in Mississippi where my family is. can't afford anything here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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We were born & raised in the Bay Area. My little brother didn't buy a house soon enough. He's out in the San Joaquin now, where he could afford to buy an acre and build a house.
The older brother bought his land, cheap, in the early '70's and built a huge house out of materials he salvaged from demolition jobs. (My dad was a demolition contractor.) He's been turning down *big* money for that house for 30 years now. (It took us three kids seven years to build that house. All three of us work/worked the building trades.)
Land in Mississippi sounds just right. You'll be able to afford to buy enough to have some elbow room and enough for a nice, big garden : )
Jan in Alaska
PS: Yes, you can grow adzuki beans in the Bay Area and you can probably plant now and have plenty of time for them.
I'm on the six weeks until hard frost count down. I'm going to plant some beet seeds today and see if they'll make it, with a small hoop house/row cover later on.
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Dilute with water and fertilize your plants with it. Leachate isn't as high quality a fertilizer as brewed compost tea (maybe "compost beer" would be a better term for the brewed stuff, but tea is what they call it) or compost itself, but as long as you don't overconcentrate the leachate, it won't hurt the plants.
Some compost bins (for example the worm composter at http://www.happydranch.com/canoworms.html ) have spigots at the bottom to drain off the leachate.

Most composting involves some odor, although it should be possible to keep it modest enough that it isn't a problem. Putting your leachate somewhere other than the slab probably would be a good plan.
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