Home Composting 101

Home Owners: You can easily begin your home composting today!


What you’ll need to begin:

  • Earth - Organic matter

  • Water

  • Air

  • Sun

  • Box Frame

  • Chicken Wire

Organic parts:

3 parts brown organic matter, dry organic materials high in carbon, ie. leaves, dead plants, grass clippings, straw, mulch.

1 part green organic matter, compostables are high in nitrogen, ie. raw food scraps, peels, tea bags, seeds - note: no dairy or meat.

Compost Box:

All you need is a box frame, at least 2ft high x 2ft deep x 3 ft wide (sufficient for house of 3-4 with vegetarian diet). If you need a quick and simple start without the use of tools use a cardboard box until you make a proper container.

  1. Find an area of the yard to place your compost. A good area for compost is away from the house, fairly flat, exposed to the sun, and does not experience standing water.

  2. Build box frame with boards, bamboo, or pvc pipe.

  3. Fasten chicken wire around the frame to create at least 4 side walls, + bottom optional. Top stays completely open.

Your compost box can be built in numerous way, as long as it is breathable (has large openings for air to move through) and a sufficient size to process the household compostables. 3 parts dry, organic matter, and 1 part fresh scrap compostables.


Compost Go:

Now that you have your compost box, you can get the compost started.

  1. Start the compost pile with a thick layer of brown organic matter, then begin to lasagne layer the green matter and brown matter maintaining proper ratio.

  2. Keep a bag of leaves and yard clippings beside your compost box.

  3. Store your food scraps in a closed container (ideally glass) on your counter top (no meat or dairy).

  4. Empty the container into the compost pile once a day or once every two days depending on size of household.

  5. Cover the fresh organic matter with dry brown matter (leaves). Mix compostables into the pile or add leaves as needed.

  6. More food scraps = more frequent trips to the compost.


Minimal maintenance is needed to keep a healthy home compost pile.

  1. Air: Let it breathe. Turn your compost at least once every three days.

  2. Water: Keep it alive. Make sure the compost has moisture. A healthy pile will naturally retain water, but in hot and arid climates water will need to be sprinkled once every three days. You can turn and water the pile at the same time.

  3. Too much water will affect the ecosystem. During wet/rainy season cover the compost with a tarp to regulate the amount of moisture.

  4. Sun: Ensure that the compost is getting direct sunlight.

Do I need to add compost organisms?

Some suggest starting the compost with living soil or manure. However, I have never used a starter and have successfully started 3 compost piles from leaves and raw food scraps.

Why should I start my own home compost?

  1. As a wise poet once said, “Life gives unto life.” By choosing to compost, you are allowing the natural cycle of life to continue by putting organic matter back into the Earth. Your compost becomes an ecosystem* that transforms what we generally consider "waste" into rich soil and natural fertilizer.

  2. Reduce CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. Composting creates living soil and is a greatly impactful, yet overlooked solution to climate change. Living Soil stores and sequesters carbon, and is a host to millions of microbes and beneficial bacteria. Composting supports the regeneration of healthy living soil and brings balance to the Earth’s skin and the Earth’s atmosphere.

  3. A home compost helps keep the indoor trash fresh and clean. A healthy diet with a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, results in a lot of organic waste. Instead of throwing scraps in the trash, feed next season’s home garden with this season’s "waste".


Ecosystem*: An ecosystem is a community made up of living organisms and nonliving components such as air, water, sun, and mineral soil.


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