The World of Composting

What a great idea!  HOW?

Composting can take many forms.  There are piles, manufactured bins, and vermiculture homes.  Here’s a little break down.

Compost Piles

  • Think about enclosure, will it be open to the world to see, or screened off from view?
  • Start your pile on bare ground so that microbes and air can easily move through the pile.
  • Piles should be at least 3′ x 3′ and not larger 5′ x 5′.
  • If you are putting food scraps in it, you may want to have a container indoors to start the breakdown process (so that you don’t have to run outside every time you cut up an apple).  If you live in the city, I strongly suggest you keep food waste for another type of composting to avoid animal problems.
  • Nitrogen and Carbon are your key elements.  Put simply, this is green (fresh garden scraps -N) and brown (cardboard, fallen leaves-C).
  • This pile will need to be aerated or turned to help the breakdown process.

Manufactured Bins

  • Like above you will want to keep equal parts green and brown, but since these bins are enclosed, you can add your kitchen scraps.
  • These bins are usually placed outside in the garden, somewhat out of site.
  • Enclosed bins are stationary, made of tough plastic with ventilation and a small door at the bottom for you to easily remove finished compost.
  • Tumblers are either vertical or horizontal in orientation, and allow you to rotate them for the turning process.


  • Worms, red wigglers, will eat your garbage.
  • They need a temperate location indoors.
  • Provide them with food scraps (fruit/veggies/coffee grounds) and brown (newspaper/non-glossy junk mail/tissue).  Smaller pieces will help these little guys break down the waste faster.
  • You can make worm bins out of a plastic storage box, but the nice thing about manufactured worm homes is that as you add more on the top trays, the worms also move up.  Therefore, your compost is in a removable tray on the bottom.  These homes collect a by product, worm or compost tea, that can be accessed by a spigot at the bottom of the homes.  Add tea to your watering can to fertilize your house plants.

Some community composts and helpful sites

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