Composting Basics: Getting Started

What Is Composting, Anyhow?

What precisely is composting? Composting is taking your kitchen area scraps and waste, and assisting them to disintegrate into soil that is beneficial  for your garden.

The Essential Actions

The fundamental actions for composting are:

  • Layering – layer the pile with green and brown materials
  • Watering – keep the pile moist
  • Turning – turn pile over every 3 – 5 days
  • Repeat – repeat the above 3 steps

What You Can Put In Your Garden Compost Bin: Green and Brown Materials

You want to include both nitrogen-based (or green) and carbon-based (or brown) products into your garden compost bin. Layer the “green” and “brown” parts in a ratio of approximately 1 part green to 2 parts brown. See below for a listing of green and brown materials.

Green Materials:

  • Veggie and fruit scraps
  • Fresh lawn clippings
  • Egg and nut shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Bread items
  • Manure (from cows, sheep, chicken, or bunnies)
  • Flat beer

Brown Materials:

  • Cardboard items
  • Dead leaves, branches, pine needles and cones
  • Paper egg containers
  • Sawdust and hay
  • Untreated wood
  • Tissues and paper
  • Lint

What You Should Not Put in Your Compost Pile

The majority of garden compost piles do not reach the needed internal temperature level to totally eliminate any germs present in the following products, so it is best to leave them out. Including artificial elements can really damage the bacteria essential for the composting procedure.

  • Bones and meat
  • Fats and cooking oils
  • Dairy items
  • Waste from felines or canines
  • Treated wood
  • Weeds or infected plants
  • Lawn clippings with pesticides or herbicides on them


When you are preparing an outside garden compost system, select a place with access to a water source, in a location that gets moderate sunshine. You do not wish to entirely dry the composting product, however the included heat from sunshine does speed along the procedure.

Begin by constructing your garden compost bin on well-drained soil. I laid a layer of flagstone and gravel in my bin, to assist with drain. Fill your yard garden compost bin with a 6-inch layer of “brown” matter and a 2- to 3-inch layer of “green” matter.


Here is where some imagination can be found in to play. If you reside in a studio apartment, think about vermicomposting, a tabletop composter, or a little bin that fits onto a veranda. For small composting, a single bin or tumbler-style bin is best.

A 3-bin compost system

Typical Problems And How To Deal With Them

  • Garden compost stinks: You are probably not tilling enough to enable appropriate air circulation, or you might have watered excessively. Simply include dry “brown” product and turn.
  • Garden compost has actually stalled: Your garden compost may be too dry. Include more “green” product, turn, and water.
  • Garden compost is slimy: There may be excessive wetness in the mix. Include more “brown” product, withdraw on watering, and turn.

Keys To Effective Composting

  • It requires time to break bigger pieces into smaller sized sizes to accelerate the procedure.
  • Bear in mind the 1:2 ratio of “greens” to “browns.”.
  • Primer your brand-new garden compost bin by utilizing a shovelful of soil from your garden. In order to add helpful bacteria, choose to buy a garden compost activator at your garden center store.

How Do I Know The Compost Is Ready?

The garden compost is prepared when it looks like the color of healthy soil, has a fertile consistency, and wafts an enjoyable, earthy fragrance your method. The ended up garden compost will be all set anywhere in between about 2 months and a year, relying on what enters into your garden compost, your ratio, and how frequently you turn.

If you have a reasonable quantity of backyard and garden matter to deal with, it’s suggested you use a 2- or three-bin system. An image of a three-bin system is in this article above. The advantages to doing this? You will constantly have an actively composting bin and another that is currently treated and all set to utilize.

Green material ready for composting

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