How to Make Compost

Choose from the many easy ways to make compost for increased garden productivity: low-cost homemade bins, piles sans bins, chicken power, pest-proof tumblers — even indoor worm bins!


| October/November 2012


Compost is the ultimate ingredient for building fertile soil. If everyone composted their kitchen and garden waste, the world would be a cleaner place, and we would all enjoy more productive organic gardens. Some folks are intimidated by this unfamiliar and seemingly mysterious process — but have no fear! Composting is nothing more than guiding the natural process by which organic wastes decompose. You simply cannot do it wrong. The only challenge is finding sufficient organic materials to make enough black gold to sustain your garden.

Composting is so worth the effort. Adding compost to your garden feeds the soil food web and provides a slow release of nutrients to your crops.

Compost also vastly improves soil structure, allows the soil to hold in moisture better and improves friability (workability).

After surveying hundreds of MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers and checking out what our Facebook community had to say during Compost Awareness Week 2012, we were blown away by the many answers to the question of how to make compost at home.

Many households compost using multiple methods, and the techniques described here are a distillation of strategies employed by MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers. Whether you have chickens, goats or other veggie-eating, manure-producing animals also has huge implications, because animals can figure so prominently in a composting loop. Making compost with critters will get its turn, but first let’s look at some of the most commonly used compost-making systems.

Composting Techniques

Most gardeners make compost by combining their kitchen and garden waste in an outdoor compost pile and waiting for it to rot. There is no need to buy special activators or inoculants, because each dead plant and bucket of food waste added to compost activates different strains of the naturally occurring microbes that promote decomposition.

Phyllis
3/16/2015 7:39:25 AM

I AM WONDERING WHAT TO DO IN THE WINTER TIME WITH YOUR SCRAPS. I HAVE A COMPOSTER THAT I USE IN THE SPRING SUMMER AND FALL BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THE SCRAPS IN THE WINTER. CAN YOU JUST PUT THEM IN THE COMPOSTER AND WAIT UNTIL SPRING? PHYLLIS


Phyllis
3/16/2015 7:34:53 AM

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Gloria
8/31/2014 12:49:46 PM

This is a great article for laying out the basics of composting and http://www.compostbinsandmore.com. For most of us it's really hard to know where to start. My husband and I have tried piles, open metal bins, tumbling bins, and now stackable tower worm composting bins. All seem to have their pros and cons. We continue using all the methods to take care of our yard waste and kitchen waste. The best advise is to just start with something!!!






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