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4 Methods to Make Your Own Compost at Home

4 Methods to Make Your Own Compost at Home

Table of Contents

Composting is an excellent way to nourish your garden naturally while reducing waste. Making your own compost at home is not only cost-effective but is also beneficial for the planet. It’s time to turn your kitchen scraps and yard waste into valuable soil for your garden. Here are four methods you can use to make your own compost at home.

Key Takeaways

  • Composting is a sustainable way to reduce waste and nourish your garden naturally.
  • Making your compost at home can be cost-effective and beneficial for the planet.
  • There are four methods of composting, and we will discuss each one.
  • By following these methods and incorporating compost into your gardening routine, you can create nutrient-rich soil.
  • Composting is an easy way to start a sustainable lifestyle.

The Basic Composting Method

basic composting method

If you’re new to composting, the basic composting method is a great place to start. It’s simple, easy, and requires minimal effort. To get started with the basic composting method, you’ll need:

  • A compost bin or pile
  • Organic materials, such as kitchen scraps and yard waste
  • Water

The basic composting method involves layering organic materials, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves, and grass clippings, in your compost bin or pile. You should aim for a ratio of about 2 parts “brown” materials (dead leaves, twigs, etc.) to 1 part “green” materials (fresh grass clippings, vegetable scraps, etc.).

Next, add some water to your compost pile to ensure it stays moist. You don’t want it to be too wet or too dry, so aim for a consistency similar to that of a damp sponge.

Finally, allow the materials to decompose naturally over time. You can speed up the process by turning your compost pile once a week or so to ensure the materials are mixing and breaking down. In a few months, you’ll have nutrient-rich compost that you can add to your garden!

Vermicomposting: Composting with Worms


If you want to take your composting to the next level, try vermicomposting. This method involves using worms to break down organic matter, creating a nutrient-rich soil additive that’s great for gardens.

To set up a worm bin, you’ll need:

  • A container (such as a plastic tub or wooden box) with a lid
  • Shredded newspaper or cardboard
  • Water
  • Red wiggler worms
  • Organic matter (such as fruit and vegetable scraps)
  • Compost (optional)

Follow these steps:

  1. Drill several small holes in the container lid for ventilation
  2. Add a layer of shredded paper or cardboard to the bottom of the container
  3. Add water to the paper or cardboard until it’s damp but not soaked
  4. Add the worms to the container and cover them with a layer of organic matter
  5. Add more layers of paper or cardboard, organic matter, and compost (if using), making sure to keep the container moist
  6. When the container is full, let it sit for a few days to allow the worms to finish breaking down the contents
  7. Harvest the vermicompost by separating it from the remaining organic matter and adding it to your garden

Remember to maintain your worm bin by regularly feeding the worms and keeping the container moist. Worms prefer temperatures between 55-77°F (12-25°C) and a pH range of 6-8. If you encounter any issues, troubleshoot them using the methods outlined in Section 6. Enjoy your nutrient-rich vermicompost, and watch your plants thrive!

Hot Composting: Speeding up the Process

If you’re looking for a faster way to compost, consider hot composting. This method requires a bit more attention than basic composting, but it can yield rich compost in just a few weeks.

To get started, gather an equal mix of brown and green materials. Browns include dry leaves and sawdust, while greens encompass food scraps and grass clippings. Mix these materials together with water to achieve a damp, but not soggy, consistency.

Make sure to create a pile that’s at least 3 feet wide and 3 feet high, as this will help generate enough heat to speed up the decomposition process. Turn the pile every few days to aerate it and maintain a temperature of around 120-140°F.

Aerate the pile by using a pitchfork or shovel to move the outer edges to the center. This mix will infuse more oxygen and ensure that the decomposition process is evenly distributed throughout the pile.

Brown Materials

Material Description
Dry leaves Great for balancing moisture and providing carbon
Sawdust Must be untreated and can be used sparingly due to its density

Green Materials

Material Description
Food scraps Provide nitrogen and speed up the decomposition process
Grass clippings A great source of nitrogen, but make sure to mix with brown materials to prevent matting

After a few weeks, your compost should be dark and crumbly, with a sweet, earthy smell. Use it to enhance the quality of your soil and promote healthy plant growth.

Bokashi Composting: Fermenting Food Waste

Bokashi composting

If you’re looking for an efficient, low-odor option for processing food waste, bokashi composting is worth considering. This fermenting technique uses a special inoculant to break down organic matter while preserving valuable nutrients. Here’s how to set up a bokashi bin:

  1. Choose a container with a tight-fitting lid, such as a bucket or bin.
  2. Add a layer of the bokashi inoculant to the bottom of the container. You can purchase bokashi bran online or at some gardening stores.
  3. Place your food waste into the container, breaking down larger pieces into smaller ones. This can include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and even small amounts of meat and dairy products.
  4. Sprinkle another layer of bokashi bran on top of the food waste.
  5. Repeat the layering process until the container is full.
  6. Seal the container tightly and let it sit for 2-4 weeks. The fermentation process is complete when the food waste has turned pickled and no longer smells like rotting garbage.
  7. You can bury the fermented waste in your garden or add it to your compost pile. Be aware that it may take a few extra weeks for the bokashi compost to break down fully.

Bokashi composting is ideal for those who live in apartments or have limited space for outdoor composting. The process also results in a nutrient-rich compost that can benefit your garden’s soil and plant growth.

Tip: It’s essential to keep your bokashi bin airtight to prevent oxygen from spoiling the fermentation process.

Troubleshooting Common Composting Issues

composting problems

Composting is an excellent way to reduce waste and improve the quality of your garden soil. However, it’s not always a smooth process. Here are some common composting challenges that you may encounter and how to address them:

Foul Odor

One of the biggest concerns with composting is the potential for unpleasant smells. To reduce odors, add more brown materials like leaves, branches, and sawdust to your compost pile. Also, be sure to turn your pile regularly to aerate it and add oxygen. If you’re still experiencing issues, try adding a layer of garden soil or a compost accelerator to speed up the decomposition process.


Composting can attract pests such as fruit flies, gnats, and ants. To keep these critters at bay, bury food scraps under a layer of brown materials, and don’t add meat, dairy, or oils to your compost pile. Consider using a compost bin with a secure lid or burying your compost in the ground to deter pests.

Imbalanced Materials

For successful composting, it’s essential to maintain the right balance of green materials (such as fruit and vegetable scraps) and brown materials (like leaves and twigs). A good ratio to aim for is 3:1 brown to green. If your compost is not breaking down correctly, adjust the ratio by either adding more green material or more brown material depending on the imbalance.

Your composting may not always be perfect, but don’t get discouraged! Keep trying, and before you know it, you’ll have nutrient-rich compost to nourish your garden and flowers.

Using Compost in Your Garden

garden compost

Now that you’ve learned how to create your own compost, it’s time to put it to use in your garden! Using garden compost is an eco-friendly way to nourish your plants naturally.

The Benefits of Using Compost

There are many benefits to using compost in your garden:

  • Enriches the Soil: Compost adds nutrients and microorganisms to the soil, improving its overall health.
  • Improves Moisture Retention: Compost helps the soil retain moisture, reducing the need for frequent watering.
  • Promotes Healthy Plant Growth: Nutrient-rich soil leads to healthier plants that are more resistant to disease and pests.

Incorporating Compost into Your Gardening Routine

Here are a few tips for using compost in your garden:

  1. Top Dressing: Spread a layer of compost over the soil to enrich it and help retain moisture.
  2. Mulching: Use compost as a mulch to suppress weeds and further improve moisture retention.
  3. Composting with Planting Holes: Mix compost into the soil when planting new plants to provide them with essential nutrients.

Using compost in your garden is an easy and effective way to improve plant health and reduce waste. So why not try incorporating it into your gardening routine today?

Compost Tea: A Nutrient-Rich Elixir

compost tea benefits

If you’re looking for a natural and sustainable way to give your plants a nutrient boost, then compost tea is the answer. It’s a liquid fertilizer made by steeping compost in water.

To make compost tea, follow these steps:

  1. Gather compost from your pile or bin. Use about a quart of compost per gallon of water.
  2. Place the compost in a porous bag or container and suspend it in a bucket or barrel of water. Avoid using metal or plastic containers.
  3. Let the mixture steep for 3-5 days, stirring daily. This will allow the beneficial microbes and nutrients to seep into the water.
  4. After a few days, remove the bag or container of compost and strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve to remove any remaining particles.
  5. Dilute the compost tea with water until it’s the color of weak tea. Use it immediately or store it in a covered container for up to a week.

Compost tea is an excellent way to improve soil structure, increase moisture retention, and promote root development. It also helps to suppress disease-causing organisms, pests, and weeds.

Tip: apply compost tea as a foliar spray or drench the soil around your plants’ roots. Test the tea on a small area first before applying it to your entire garden.

“Compost tea is like giving your garden a healthy dose of probiotics. Your plants will thank you for it!”

Composting Beyond the Basics

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the advanced level of composting! In this section, we’ll explore several advanced composting techniques that take your composting game to the next level.

First off, let’s talk about compost tumblers. Compost tumblers are enclosed bins with a rotating drum that speeds up the composting process. They are great for small spaces and can produce nutrient-rich compost in as little as 4-6 weeks. Just add organic materials, spin the tumbler a few times a week, and let nature do its job.

Another option for advanced composting is with composting toilets. These toilets use little to no water and turn human waste into nutrient-rich compost for your garden. While they require more maintenance than regular toilets, they are a sustainable alternative to traditional flush toilets and contribute to reducing waste in landfills.

Bokashi Composting

In Section 5, we briefly touched on bokashi composting, but let’s dive a little deeper. Bokashi composting uses a special inoculant to ferment food waste instead of decomposing it. The process is faster and produces a nutrient-dense liquid that can be used as a natural fertilizer. To set this up, you’ll need a bokashi bin and the inoculant, which can be purchased online or at a gardening store. Add food scraps and inoculant to the bin, seal it, and let it ferment for 2 weeks. Once fermented, bury it in a hole in your garden, and the nutrients will seep into the soil.

If you’re limited on space, consider composting in small spaces. This method usually involves using a worm bin, which can be small and easily stored. The worms will eat through your organic material, leaving behind nutrient-rich worm castings, a type of compost. This method is easy, low-maintenance, and perfect for apartment living.

As you can see, there are many advanced composting techniques to suit your needs. From compost tumblers to bokashi composting and composting in small spaces, there’s no shortage of ways to effectively compost. So why not try out one of these methods and take your composting game to the next level?


Congratulations! You’ve learned about the 4 methods to make your own compost at home and the benefits of composting for both your garden and the environment. By following the basic composting method, vermicomposting, hot composting, or bokashi composting, you can create nutrient-rich soil and reduce waste.

Remember to troubleshoot common composting issues, such as foul odor or pests, to ensure your compost pile stays healthy. Once your compost is ready, incorporate it into your gardening routine to improve soil quality and promote healthy plant growth.

Additionally, consider trying advanced composting techniques, such as using compost tumblers or composting in small spaces, to suit your specific situation.

By composting at home, you’re contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle and doing your part to reduce waste. Wrap up your journey towards a green thumb by starting to compost today!


What is composting?

Composting is the process of breaking down organic materials, such as kitchen scraps and yard waste, into nutrient-rich soil amendment.

Why should I make my own compost at home?

Making your own compost at home allows you to reduce waste, save money on fertilizers, and create healthy soil for your garden.

What materials can I compost?

You can compost a variety of organic materials, including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, yard waste, and shredded newspaper.

How long does it take to make compost?

The time it takes to make compost can vary depending on factors such as the method used and the materials used. Generally, it takes anywhere from a few months to a year.

Can I compost meat or dairy products?

It is best to avoid composting meat or dairy products, as they can attract pests and produce foul odors. Stick to composting plant-based materials instead.

How do I start composting with worms?

To start vermicomposting, you will need a worm bin, bedding materials like shredded newspaper, and composting worms such as red wigglers. Add the worms to the bin along with the bedding and feed them regularly with food scraps.

What is hot composting?

Hot composting is a method where the compost pile’s temperature is raised intentionally to speed up the decomposition process. This is done by maintaining the right moisture level and turning the pile regularly.

How do I set up a bokashi bin?

To set up a bokashi bin, you will need a container with an airtight lid, bokashi bran, and food waste. Layer the food waste with bokashi bran in the container and press it down. Close the lid tightly and let it ferment for a few weeks.

What should I do if my compost pile smells bad?

If your compost pile smells bad, it is likely due to too much moisture or improper balance of organic materials. To fix this, add dry materials like leaves or shredded paper to absorb the excess moisture and ensure a proper balance of green and brown materials.

How can I use compost in my garden?

Compost can be used in various ways in the garden. You can spread a layer of compost on top of the soil, mix it into the planting holes, or create a compost tea to use as a liquid fertilizer.

What is compost tea?

Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer made by steeping compost in water. It contains nutrients and beneficial microorganisms that can help improve plant growth and soil health.

What are some advanced composting techniques?

Some advanced composting techniques include using compost tumblers for faster decomposition, utilizing composting toilets to handle human waste, and implementing composting methods suitable for small spaces, such as vermiculture or bokashi composting.

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