how to compost in 8 steps

composting at home is a great way to recycle food scraps and yard trimmings, with the lovely result becoming food for your garden that will help improve soil structure, maintain moisture levels, and keep your garden soil's pH balance in check.

Making backyard compost is simple with this 8 step method. 

In just a couple of months, you can use the new soil created by the composted material as garden compost to help feed and grow your backyard garden.

Worms - an essential part of the compost mix - are also good in the garden, because their excrement is high in nitrogen, plus they aerate soil by tunneling.

This improves tilth and allows water and air to get to plants' roots. (This is a very good thing.)

the 8 steps to compost success.

1. get a big plastic tub (not the see through kind) with a lid.

You'll need a large, solid plastic tub (not see-through) with a lid. Shoot for a tub 30 gallons or larger.

2. drill holes along the sides.

Next, drill holes along the sides of your worm bin.

You'll want these to be about 1/4 inch from the bottom for drainage. Poke a few air holes near the top as well.

3. put in a 4-inch layer of shredded newspapers.

Layer newspaper inside approximately 4-inches thick.

Spray the papers with water until they are damp, but not soggy.

4. add three or four handfuls of garden soil.

Now it's time to add some garden soil to the mix. Three or four handfuls should do it.

You'll find garden soil at home gardening stores.

5. mix in about a cup of chopped-up food scraps.

Add in small, chopped up kitchen food scraps. Chopped foods decompose faster than bigger pieces.

6. now add the worms.

Now, all that's missing are the worms. Red wigglers are the best. You can usually buy them at garden centers. (Don't use nightcrawlers, the worms sold for bait.)

7. add more table scraps each week.

Continue adding table scraps to your worm bin weekly. Keep the soil moist but not wet. (If it starts to smell, it's too wet.)

To keep flies from laying eggs on them, be sure to cover scraps with soil. Also add more paper or yard scraps each week.

8. store your worm bin and food scraps in a shady place.

Now that everything's ready to go, you'll need some where shady to store it. A basement or a garage work well for this purpose.

When you're ready to add the final organic product to your garden, separate the worms out first so they can continue their work for you.

The easiest way is to spread the contents of the box on a plastic garbage bag on the driveway on a sunny day. Cover half the soil with a box to shade it.

The worms will crawl to the shady part. (Because your box is sitting on lumpy soil there are small raised areas for the worms to, well, worm their way out.)

Your lovely creation is now food for your garden, and will help improve soil structure, maintain moisture levels, and keep your garden soil's pH balance in check.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.