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How to Make Compost at Home

If you’re gardening, you should also be composting. Once you learn how to compost you’ll have 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.

how to make compost step by step

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.

Take it another level and give the scraps to your backyard chickens, let them mix it with their compostable bedding, eat what they will and poop on the rest, and then compost that nitrogen-rich mix!

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.

We actually have several composting areas on our homestead: one fenced in by pallets, one in a black plastic box for our vermicomposting, and simply a pile of horse manure composting in the open.

how to make compost at home

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 Make 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 can you compost?

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

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Steve Reed

Friday 8th of September 2017

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

Lauren Dibble

Wednesday 13th of September 2017

I've never heard of the Bokashi method, but now I'm intrigued! Going to hit Google and see what it's about. Thanks for sharing!!


Monday 28th of August 2017

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.


Thursday 24th of August 2017

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!