Composting 101: a Guide to Making Nutrient Rich Compost at Home

Posted August 23, 2017 by Lauren Dibble in Gardening / 5 Comments


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everything you need to know about compost

If you’re gardening, you should also be composting. Composting is a simple, easy and free way to add quality nutrients to your soil, and better soil means happier plants!

But the thing I love most about composting, is that is takes what would normally be scraps that would end up in the trashcan and re-purposes them. It gives them a second life. That banana that you ate will go to fuel you, and the peel will go to fuel your garden! It’s a perfect cycle and nothing gets wasted.

Composting can be as simple or as complex as you make it. For the interest of today’s post, we’re going to keep it simple. A compost pile can be everything from a section of your yard, fenced with pallets, or a compost bin on a frame that you can “tumble”. Use whatever works for you.

My compost bin is a pile in the corner of my backyard, surrounded by cut logs. It’s far enough away from the house not to attract bugs or for the smell to be offensive, but close enough that it’s a quick walk from the kitchen.

I would also, however, recommend keeping a compost pail in your kitchen for simplicity. This can be anything from a Lowes 5 gallon bucket, to a small metal feedbin, to a fancy, ornate compost bucket that doubles as decoration. Use this to collect your daily scraps and then walk it out to the large pile every day or every few days.

This is the one I have: 1.3 gallon compost bin. I like that it’s attractive enough to keep on my counter, which means the hubby and kids are more likely to use it too!

Different scraps decompose at different rates. To speed along the process, be sure to cut or break the scraps into smaller pieces.

How to Compost

  1. Add your kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, fallen leaves, etc. to your pile.
  2. Keep pile moist, but not soaking. You may need to water and cover it to retrain the moisture during the hot summer months.
  3. Turn your compost every few months to add some air to the mix and break up any lumps that may have formed
  4. Wait!

Depending on what you’ve added, it will take a few months to develop into a compost you can add back into your garden.

What to Compost

  • fruit and vegetable scraps
  • eggshells
  • leaves
  • grass clippings
  • lawn & garden weeds
  • straw or hay
  • pine needles
  • flower cuttings
  • wood ash
  • chicken manure
  • coffee grounds
  • tea leaves
  • newspaper & shredded paper
  • sawdust

What NOT To Compost

  • any meat or bones
  • black walnut leaves (these are poisonous)
  • diseased plants
  • invasive weeds

Your turn! How do you do your compost bin? Do you have any lessons learned from composting?

how to compost

5 responses to “Composting 101: a Guide to Making Nutrient Rich Compost at Home

  1. There was a compost pile already started on our property when we moved in a couple of months ago, so I’ve just been adding to it. I’m planning on tweaking it in the spring so that there are three separate piles going in different stages at once.
    We use quart-sized plastic bags for our daily compost and keep it in the freezer to keep the fruit flies at bay. We empty those twice a week or so. The large plastic coffee buckets are ideal for this purpose, but I haven’t got one right now.
    Happy composting!

  2. Compost is most inexpensive and useful fertilizers for our soil. The important benefits of this practice is natural vegetables, plants. Animal manure and cow dung is used extensively and it,s good source to make compost. Cow-Dung has more organic and nutrients value and thus it gives positive impact to the soil.

  3. Hey there!

    I’ve been composting on and off for years now, really got into the Biodynamic side of things while I lived in Australia. Hot composting was awesome. I’ve just got back into it in a BIG way, have you looked into the Bokashi method. Looks quite interesting and allows you to compost a lot more stuff, as the process in anaerobic.

    Be interested in any experience you have with it.

    Love the blog style, looks great

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