How to compost — A Way to Garden’s top 12 FAQs

What can I put in the compost heap? What can’t I put into the compost? Do I need a special bin to compost? What is “Hit and Run” composting? Goodness, over on her blog A Way to Garden, my friend Margaret Roach has just the best-ever set of 12 FAQ’s on how to compost. The only one missing — my question: Why am I so fascinated by composting?

  1. Tikimama says:

    I grew up in a family that composted and recycled way before it was the norm. It always seemed normal to me, and such a good way to reuse the food waste a family of seven produced. I didn’t compost at all for many years when it was just me, or just me and him. Recently, I’ve gotten back into it. I now live in a mobile home with very little yard space, so I went looking for a compact solution. I found a tutorial on the web for making small bins from Rubbermaid-type tubs with lids. I’ve been doing it for several months now, and I think I’ll have some good compost this spring! I’m planning to post my own tutorial and experience on my blog – I’ll let you know when it’s up.

  2. BungalowBILL says:

    I admit to being a bit of a composting freak. This winter when the snow got so deep I couldn’t get to the compost pile it really bugged me to have to throw my coffee grounds and eggshells away. I even go so far as to put my shredded personal info into the pile. I figure thieves might go through my paper recycling but they won’t go through my wet compost to steal my identity.

    When I worked at a zoo I started a vermicomposting program. we used scraps from the commissary to feed the worms. Then we fed the worms to the animals and let horticulture dept use the compost and tea for the plants. This method also produced fruit flies (good for frogs, bad for kitchens). Hint, if you buy the worms from a composting site they’re quite expensive. If you buy them from a bait supplier they’re cheap.

  3. Shelly in Phoenix says:

    We put our kitchen scraps into the “Flour” unit of our vintage yellow canister set, conveniently located right next to the sink. Egg shells, apple cores, coffee grounds, cut flowers that are past their prime…in they go!

    Oh, and if you really want to goose up your compost, get yourself a small flock of urban chickens! They are easy to care for, the eggs are delicious, and they can help turn your compost while adding fertilizer to it (check your city codes, first…).

    1. Jen says:

      Oh, I have to say, one of the most annoying things about where we live…no chickens! We still compost, though. But chickens would be awesome.

      Okay, silly non-compost related rant over.

  4. Holly Rocket says:

    Did you know that Starbucks will give you their used coffee grounds for your compost? Check with them and any other local coffee shops in your area…they may be glad to get those grounds off their hands.
    Another gardening tip that my grandmother taught me was: when you plant your tomato plants in the spring, wrap a banana peel directly around the root ball then put it into your soil.

  5. Rebecca Prichard says:

    I have been composting for 5 years now, I want to tell everyone it’s easier than you think. And, did you know that 30% of garbage is kitchen scraps that can be composted??

    A few things:
    You CAN make your own with chicken wire, but eventually you will get cut from the wire.

    If you are composting mostly for kitchen scraps, then you need to add “brown” matter (carbon) to offset it or it will stink. This can be newspaper, STRAW!, or leaves.

    You can stir it as much as you like, the more you stir the faster it will turn to soil. But you CAN be lazy and it works, too.

    I have Covered Bridge Organics composter.

    This is GREAT for turning it.

      1. You don’t have to cook to get apple cores, banana peels and carrot peelings! My kitchen compost (that I put in my penguin ice bucket) is largely tea bags, coffee grounds (I KNOW you have those, Pam), raw veggie peelings and fruit cores, etc. And I still get a lot!

  6. Ann-Marie Meyers says:

    Some communities give away, or sell at reduced rates composting bins and rain barrels. Check it out! One of my online groups is all a buzz over it right now.

  7. Jon Hunt says:

    We’re obsessed with composting too! We just started a compost pile last fall, so it remains to be seen how faithful we are with it, but it should be a nifty experiment. Thanks for posting this!!

    Gardening, of course, goes hand-in-hand with the mid-century lifestyle! You gotta have a nice garden.

  8. Puddletown Cheryl says:

    Did you hear that the Seattle Mariners, instead of the usual cheap junk giveaways, are going to give away small bags of compost to their fans made from the junk left behind from previous games. Cool, huh.

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