What is Compost:

Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed, it is then recycled and used as a fertilizer or soil amendment. Honestly, compost is the good stuff for your soil and plants. It's a natural way to have a healthy garden, be it vegetable, flower or both, plants simply love it!

It's also a great way to recycle or reuse green and brown waste (leaves, food waste), and compost is the key ingredient in organic farming. Simply put, it is the process of breaking down brown and green waste into humus in a matter of weeks or months.

This nutrient-rich soil amendment is beneficial in many ways such as a soil conditioner, fertilizer, increased addition of humic acids (humus), and also as a natural pesticide for the soil.


Carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water.

To work effectively, composting requires 4 equally important ingredients.
  • Carbon - For energy. The microbial oxidation of carbon produces heat. These tend to be (brown and dry - leaves, shredded newspaper, wood chips) and they offer a high carbon energy.
  • Nitrogen - That grows and reproduces more organisms which in turn oxidizes the carbon. Materials that are green and or colorful such as grass clippings, fruits and vegetables tend to be high in nitrogen.
  • Oxygen - Needed for the decomposition process, (oxidizes the carbon).
  • Water - Used in the right amounts. Maintains activity without causing anaerobic conditions (Anaerobic conditions affect plant productivity, organic matter and nutrient dynamics in the soil).

    Cooking the compost! Use a good mix of these ingredients, this will allow the organisms to work with the nutrients, and cause the pile to heat up. This process will cause water to evaporate, (steam) will be released, so water will need to be added as well as air (air is achieved by working the compost - use a pitchfork and turn the pile to achieve air).

    Optimal composting occurs when you have a carbon to nitrogen ratio of c10.1 to n20.1, so just add a good mix of your greens, your browns and add some moisture and you are on your way to composting.


    Bins can be stationery (made from a wire fence or a wooden create. Either will be fine as long as they are well ventilated). Tumbler bins (easy to turn bins with a handle. Compost will be ready in weeks instead of months).
    Compost bins don't have to be fancy, but one thing is important, the placement of the bin, "put it in the sun" for optimal results. If the sun in not an option for you, it can be in the shade, however, the process will take longer to break down.


    Ok, we have talked about "what is compost", "ingredients" and "containers" and now that you have all the dirt (LOL) on compost, it's time to start your own.

    Decide on your bin, put it in the sun, heap on your mix of dry brown and your greens, moisten with
    some water, and get it cooking. Add more when it's available and don't forget to turn it.

    As for me, my compost is cooking up a storm! I have a small bin (actually it's a big plastic green trash can with air holes punched in the sides that I rock back and forth and it works fine, but I think I will upgrade to a stationary wire bin because I need more compost). I plan on a BIG veggie garden next year.

    Hey, it's been a lot of fun talking about compost today and if you want to chat, just drop me a note.

    From my "Dirty" shovel to your's, I'm wishing you the best!