8 Composting Tips for Beginners

Composting is good for the environment and even better for your plants. Are you ready to give it a go?

When I first learned about composting, it seemed daunting, and I didn’t know where to start. But once I started, I realized how easy it is. It has huge benefits for my garden. 

Why Should I Start Composting?

There are many beneficial reasons.

Reduces Waste

A lot of food is thrown away. You can reduce food waste and feed your garden instead. Both is good for the environment.

Free Fertilizer

Fertilizer is expensive. Composting is cheap. It will turn your waste into soil that is good for your plants.

It’s Not Difficult

Once you know what can go into the composting bin, it’s easy. If you have kids, let them throw stuff into the bin. It’s fun for them, and many find it very interesting.

It’s Educational

There is a lot of science behind composting and fertilizing. This task is highly educational for both children and adults. It will help you be a better gardener. 

A person disposing food waste into a compost bin

8 Tips for Beginners

1. Don’t Buy an Expensive Compost Bin

Do not spend a fortune on a composting bin if you are just getting started. It is better to learn the basics, buy a cheap bin, and try it out. Unless you can find a used compost bin at your local market, you don’t even need to buy one; you can make your own. Check out our page on building a DIY compost pile.

2. Avoid Composting Certain Items

It’s hard to mess up composting because you can add so many things. Instead of remembering what you can use, learn what you should not add to the compost bin.

Do not compost:

  • Dog and cat poop
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Diseased plants
  • Poison ivy and other poisonous plants
  • Diapers
  • Dairy products

3. Think Green and Brown

Your compost bin needs to be filled with both fresh green waste, like grass clippings, and dry brown waste, like dead leaves and plants. The green waste adds nitrogen, and the brown waste adds carbon. You need both to make good compost.

Place a layer of woody garden waste on the bottom to keep the air moving. Then layer green and brown matter as much as possible.

There should be about a 50:50 ratio of green-to-brown materials. 

4. Think About Other Items You Can Compost

Eggshells, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, paper bags, and torn-up cotton clothing can all be composted. Add these things in small amounts. However, don’t put cooked food waste in your compost because it draws bugs and animals.

Chopping board with chopped vegetables

1. Add Water

Adding a little water will help dry matter break down more quickly. Your pile should be wet at all times but not soaked.

To help your compost retain moisture, consider putting a lid on your compost bin.

2. Turn Your Compost from Time to Time

The last thing you need to make compost work is… air! Every few weeks, use a pitchfork or shovel to turn your compost. Make sure your compost bin is big enough for air to get in. Otherwise, your compost could become slimy and smell bad.

3. You Can Compost with Worms

Earthworms are our best helpers in getting rid of waste. You can buy them online.

You can also purchase specialized bins that help filter earthworm castings.

4. Check Out Our Full Guide

If you want to learn more details, make sure to check out our full guide on composting. 

Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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