We’ve had our electric composter for a little over a year now. You can read my full review of the FoodCycle here. I’m still wildly in love with the machine and love that it limits our food waste, allowing us to compost at home! Besides turning our food scraps into a “foodilizer” though, what does that mean for the electric composter byproduct? Well, here’s my long overdue write up on how to use foodilizer!
How to Use Foodilizer?
The magic of the FoodCycler is that it turns your food scraps (including cheese, small meat and fish bones, etc.) into a nutrient dense fertilizer you can use in the garden. All the food is dessicated and then ground up into what you see above. Roughly 6 cups of food scraps turns into 1-2 cups of “foodilizer.” (see before/after photos here)
We run our FoodCycler 3-4 times per week (for a small family of 3) yielding about 10 cups of byproduct each week. It isn’t much each time, but it does start to add up. You can see how large this bin is and I don’t think it’s too big for our needs.
I’ve used this foodilizer in our garden a couple times in the last year and have had great luck thus far with my container gardening (see my small summer bounty here). While it’s simple to use, it is important to use it correctly so you don’t end up with a mess in your garden.
How long does Foodilizer Last?
According to the FoodCycler website, the foodilizer lasts for about one year. After running your machine, you’ll want to let the byproduct sit for at least one week, however, before mixing it into anything.
Is Foodilizer like compost?
Yes and no. Yes, the foodilizer is a great source of nutrients to add to your soil, but it doesn’t have any of the microbes (because of the drying process) and you don’t use it exactly the same way.
**if you’re hoping for the microbes, there are tablets you can buy from the website that add microbes back into the soil**
At least 3-4 weeks before planting, you want to mix your foodilizer into soil (11:1 – that is 11 parts soil to 1 part foodilizer). DO NOT WATER OR ALLOW IT TO GET WET.
That last part is really important. When I was first looking into getting a FoodCycler, I read negative reviews that the foodilizer molded when added to soil – it’s because people didn’t keep it dry long enough.
I’ve never had any problems with rot or mold because I allow it to dry for so long.
I do like to mix up the foodilizer/soil mix about once per week before planting, but I don’t know that that’s necessary.
Can You Pre-Mix Your Foodilizer?
Yes! I started doing this just a few months ago. You mix the same 11:1 ratio of foodilizer to soil and keep for 3-4 weeks before using.
I’ve done this to add on top of plants that won’t be removed (e.g. lemon trees) and before I planted some seeds for wildflowers!
Do you Have extra Foodilizer?
Yes we do. Our garden is still very small, so I’m only using the foodilizer twice per year in each container. Our family definitely produces more electric compost byproduct than that, so I’ve been sharing it.
I’ve shared it once with my mom (who now has her own FoodCycler) and once with a friend. Recently, I listed it in a local Facebook group. I had two people pick up two paper bags of foodilizer for their gardens! It was a great way to use up the extras without having to put it in our green bin.
Down the road, if we decide to do backyard composting at our home, we can also add the FoodCycler byproduct there (the electric composter handles meat bones, fish bones, and cheese whereas regular composting does not – so they’re a good pair).
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