Composting Tips and Advice

Our community offers their best composting tips for all levels of expertise.
From the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Facebook Fans
January 31, 2014
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Composting can take many different forms and use a variety of methods, and our Facebook fans are well-versed in most!
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When it comes to composting, the options, methods, solutions and setups are innumerable — we're sure there are great composting ideas we've never even heard of before! So gave our Facebook fans an assignment: Share any creative techniques they use for their home composting, along with any problems they’ve encountered (and overcome) in the process. Then, check out our article on How to Make Compost.

Are you on Facebook? Follow MOTHER EARTH NEWS Magazine to find even more great ideas and conversations like the one below. Learn more about our Facebook presence and how to use this cool social tool to best Connect with us.

Debi Denice Weable After Halloween, I ran the Jack O’Lanterns through the shredder (cheese) function of the food processor for the compost bins

Ann Dodson We cold compost right outside of our kitchen window :D

Belinda Mansfield We cold compost, and we were given culled fish from a fish farm. Wow did it heat up the process!! In exchange we plan on giving some of our produce to the food pantry in town. I have a container in the sink that I put all produce scraps, shells and coffee grounds in, makes it easy for me as I'm lazy. Our errors are that we shredded the windows of envelopes and as you know they DO NOT COMPOST!

Aaron Blanchard Nothing beats saw dust and broken glass! Just kidding, all of my organic waste gets composted, mostly post juicer and the matter is sorted by acid/alkaline to the plants that use them best.

Jim Glatfelter We just pile up kitchen waste. Scoop off the top when we need good soil and then dig from the bottom of the pile then restock for later use.

Liselotte Wandscher I have a compost tumbler that I love. It's easy to use and easy to empty too, nice for a 58-year-old female who lives alone! I add old "kombusha mothers" for added bacteria and it works great

Susan Weiss I vermicompost using a worm farm in the basement. I freeze the stuff before putting it in, giving it a chance to start breaking down and to kill any insect larvae.

Jenny Taylor OH! I wish I could vermicompost! I tried it once — it didn't end well for the worms! I'm in a small city, in a housing development. Neighbors think I'm crazy for composting. :)I built a square bin out of 2-by-4's, but didn't attach the three layers. That way I can break them down. I have a large one where all my raw material goes, which I DO turn, and a small one to which I move my material that's finished 'cooking'. I got some of that fish stuff from another composter, and my garden was a BEAST this year!

Debi Denice Weable The homebrewers in my area let me know when they have spent-grains for the compost.

Charlie Bradbury My mum and dad swore by a piece of old carpet for the top of the compost — just the right amount of air circulation and heat insulation is what I was told.

Maria Falce I collect all my scraps from the kitchen in a bowl that gets taken out to the porch collector. When that is full, it gets moved into a garbage can with holes in it which also holds our bunny litter (waste plus paper pellets). In the fall, it all goes into the beds to sheet compost over the winter. In the summer, I side dress with it then cover with fresh wood chips. I have a separate pile for the chicken and duck litter that I mix with grass clippings, let that heat up a few times before it too goes into the veggie beds. What doesn't work...we often have too much citrus and avocado skins...take so long to break down!!

Elizabeth Talamantes I got an EarthMachine composting bin from the city for 15 bucks (normally 80) after watching their seminar. All fruit and veggie scraps go in, we brew our own beer so the spent grains go in, leftovers from the garden, and we balance it with leaves from our giant pecan tree. It works great and has attracted a lot of red worms. I love it!

Edyta Blaszczuk Schranz I do a few different things for my compost. We have two bins in the garage with earthworms. We also have raised beds that serve a place to dump all kitchen waste and chicken bedding. They are about foot high. When they are full, we top it off with leaves and straw. That collapsed quite a bit, when it's about 1/2 down, we use it as garden. We just put a layer of soil on top about two inches high so seeds can sprout. Once those plants have deeper roots, they feed on the compost.

We also have a couple of "raised beds" that serve as compost for our chickens to dig in. They love it! I don't let chickens in the rest of the garden and the raised beds/compost bins beyond chickens' reach have tons of earthworms. There are just as many as in the garage bins. The reason we still do vermicomposting in the garage bins is because there isn't much earthworm activity in our raised beds during very hot Arkansas summers when temperatures reach above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rick Gunter Human urine for the nitrogen source. You'd be amazed how many people do this. Big gack factor, but hey, it's free, it works, and saves toilet flushes, saving water.

Sean Anam An ice cream bucket under the sink for everything the chickens won't eat... then to a garbage can full of holes…then off to the garden to be incorporated into the soil itself…not very high tech, but it works!. Whatever the chickens eat gets thrown into the pen where they scratch and peck, and then all the bedding and remains are then piled after a coop clean out, and added to the garden soil in the spring!


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