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 or plastic compost tumbler;
  • Shredded newspapers;
  • Garden soil;
  • Kitchen food scraps;
  • Red wigglers (Don't use nightcrawlers, the worms sold for bait.)

  1.  How to Compost: To Get Started, Drill Holes Along the Sides of Your Plastic Tub

Drill holes along the sides of your compost bin to provide aeration.

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 shredded newspapers 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 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 tub or bin 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!

› How to Compost in 8 Easy Steps