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how to compost in 7 easy steps

How to compost at home? It is as simple as following these 7 steps. 

You'll need the following items to get started:

  • A 30-gallon plastic tub (not the see-through kind) with a lid;
  • Shredded newspapers;
  • Garden soil;
  • Kitchen food scraps;
  • Red wigglers (Don't use nightcrawlers, the worms sold for bait.)

1. drill holes along the sides of your plastic tub.

Drill holes along the sides of your plastic tub (or 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.

2. add a 4-inch layer of shredded newspapers.

Layer newspaper inside your worm bin, approximately 4-inches thick. Spray the papers with water until they are damp, but not soggy.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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. These worms are essential for breaking down the items in your compost pile.

They'll also benefit your garden in the process, because the worms' excrement is high in nitrogen.

Plus, they aerate soil by their tunneling. This improves tilth, and allows water and air to get to the plants' roots. (This is a very good thing.)

6. 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.

7. 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 - in the garden soil itself this time.

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. It will help improve soil structure, maintain moisture levels, and keep your garden soil's pH balance in check. Happy composting!

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for all the products and supplies you need to start composting.



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› How to Compost in 8 Easy Steps

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

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.