The Complete Gardener's Guide ,
Gardening expert offers tips for the best compost.

Materials Needed

  • compost bin
  • mix of brown and green materials
  • large garden fork

Step 1: Choose Compost Spot

Choose a compost bin to suit your needs, and position it in the garden where it can be easily accessed and tended.

Step 2: Collect Materials

Add uncooked kitchen waste as well as healthy plant materials and grass clippings to your heap. Do not add animal waste, meat, cooked food, diseased plants, or fresh perennial weeds. Pick out any perennial weeds or diseased plants.

Step 3: Layer Waste

Build up your heap in layers of green and brown material to blend the materials and give the finished compost a good structure and texture. Green waste includes lawn clippings, annual weeds, plant trimmings, and other soft material that rots down quickly, bringing nitrogen and moisture to the mix. Shredded cardboard and dead leaves are good brown-waste materials—they are dry, rich in carbon, and give compost structure. Green materials rot to a smelly sludge, but brown materials balance out the compost to produce a rich, crumbly texture.

Step 4: Turn Heap

Turn the heap periodically with a garden fork to mix up all the rotting materials and aerate the heap; this also helps the mixture compost more thoroughly.

2 Comments About this How To

  • Lisa Ye
    Can i make garden compost in winter?

    Posted 9 months ago

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  • felder
    Lisa, compost works GREAT in the winter! my two side-by-side bins are constantly being filled and emptied by turns (while one is being filled with fresh compostable ingredients,, the other is being emptied of finished compost). once you get started, it's a regular thing. To make sure it "works" even in cold weather, make sure you add nitrogen-rich stuff from time to time - kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, and the like work fine. Turn or aerate it from time to time to keep everything aerated and mixed up. I have found that two simple bins (mine are made of half inch screen-like "hardware cloth" from the building supply store), because it makes things simpler - you won't have to keep mixing stuff all the time. one more thing: to get things started, throw a thin layer of garden soil or old leaf mould from under a tree, which will "innoclulate" the bin with healthy beneficial bacteria and fungi, which are the real workhorses of the compost bin. have fun!

    Posted 9 months ago

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