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How to Compost for Greener Living | Step-by-Step Guide to Composting

Composting is the process of breaking down organic materials. The composting process occurs daily in nature. You’ve probably even observed it yourself if you’ve ever taken a walk in the woods. When organic materials like grass and leaves break down, the combination turns into a rich, nutrient-filled soil to feed other plants. You can even create your own compost to enrich your soil and garden at home by building a compost bin or purchasing a pre-made composting bin — there are small, countertop sized bins or larger composting bins for big projects.

how to compost

Why should you start composting?

Composting is an easy way to recycle yard and kitchen scraps to reduce the amount of materials dumped in landfills. Did you know that yard trimmings and leftover food make up 26% of landfill waste in the U.S.? By composting, you can do your part to stop over filling our landfills.

[tweetthis]Yard trimmings and leftover food make up 26% of landfill waste in U.S. #gardening #composting[/tweetthis]

What are the benefits of composting?

Not only is composting good for the environment in general, but using compost around your home can save you money and keep your yard healthier. Compost is a natural alternative to expensive chemical fertilizers that can deplete important minerals and microbes in the soil. Chemicals can also end up in our water supply, resulting in contaminated water. Creating your own compost is an organic way to nurture your small piece of earth.

What do you do with compost?

Compost can be used as fertilizer, lawn feed, and potting mix. Because compost is so nutrient-rich, it can actually protect your plants from disease. It also improves the structure of the soil, making it more suitable for growing. Try using compost in your home garden for extra flavorful, healthy fruits and vegetables.

How do you start composting?

To make your own compost, you’ll need a compost bin. You can make your own compost bin out of a standard plastic garbage can with a lid. Simply drill 15-20 small holes through the can. It’s important to drill the holes to the compost can breathe. Oxygen is needed to aid in the decomposition process. Once you’ve drilled your holes, you can start adding materials. You can even purchase wire compost bins for outdoors.

ALSO ON PRIME PARENTS CLUB: 5 Reasons to Garden With Your Children

What goes into compost and how much?

Composting requires both brown and green materials in a 4 to 1 ratio. Dried leaves, dead grass, straw and twigs can are considered brown, while fresh grass clippings, kitchen scraps, leaves and weeds are green. Keeping the ratio at 4 to 1 prevents the mixture from becoming too wet, however you will need to water your compost once a week to keep it moist. Be sure not to add any animal products, such as meat or dairy. These take much longer to turn over into compost and can lead to a stinky compost bin! Also, do not add ashes or shredded paper as this will contaminate the compost.

How do I maintain my compost bin?

Once you’ve added materials to your compost bin, give it a stir with a garden spade. Each time you add to the bin, make sure you mix it up. Once you’re finished, put the lid on and strap it down with a bungee cord to prevent it from spilling if it gets knocked down. Move your bin into a sunny place in the yard, preferably by the garden for easy use.

Composting is a great way to recycle waste and create a greener home. Turn your compost into a family activity by painting and assembling the bin and learning about soil and organic planting together. You can even start your own family garden with your own organic soil.


This guest post was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter.



Along with being a contributor to, Jacqueline Wilson is: Appalachia Advocate~Supporter of Women~Writer~Accidental Pit Bull Advocate.

1 Comment

  1. rockle

    November 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    any idea whether those small household compost tumbler bins are any good? and what about the composting that uses worms / worm castings? is that more difficult?

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