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How to Start Composting

A Beginner's Guide

Looking for a new and effective way to get a healthy garden? Then you came to the right place! Not only will you save money, but you will also be saving the environment. Composting is one of the best things you can do for the garden is to begin composting. There are many things that you can use that provide great nutrients for your garden and make great compost. The additives you use for your compost can help make your growing crops become large and much healthier than before. Let's get started!

a girl thinking

How to Start a Compost Pile

Wait- we are getting too ahead of ourselves! Let's take a moment and talk about why you should begin composting.

When you begin composting, you are allowing many vital nutrients to enter your soil, which usually does not last on its own. Composting can help budget cut all those fertilizer applications that you would otherwise be spending your money on. It also provides the necessary needs that might be solved by your granular lawn fertilizer.

An effective way to begin this would be to have a small container that is easily accessible in your kitchen. It is handy that it is on my counter! When I make eggs in the mornings with some veggies it is nice to be able to just throw the scraps into that container for a quick clean-up. Doing this also serves as a reminder for me to get out in the yard and put my compost pile to use. Try this out and the compost will be ready in two to five weeks. Make sure you try your best to keep track of that. I have had moments when I forgot to bring the compost out in the yard and it started to decay and develop furry mold. Not fun!

Throwing waste in dustbin - wet garbage

What Can You Compost?

Composting sounds simple but sadly we can't compost everything. To start off there are typically two different types of compost which are green compost and brown compost

Green Compost usually is moist, sappy, and soft. This leads to it being able to rot faster and is low in carbon and high in nitrogen. It usually comprises of things such as:

  • Teabags

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps

  • Table scraps that aren't meat or bones

  • Fresh grass clippings

  • Egg Shells

dumping the waste on soil

Brown compost tends to be dry, woody, and branch like. These materials will take more time to rot, and they are high in carbon and low in nitrogen. It will mainly consist of:

  • Coffee and coffee filters

  • Wood shavings

  • Shredded newspaper

  • Dry leaves

  • Peanut and hay shells

  • Nuts

Some products are also compostable such as cups, plates, partyware, and utensils. However, always check if they are the compostable kind.

Things You Can't Compost

As I mentioned earlier, we can't compost everything! There are things that just cannot be composted. Some examples of these are things such as:

  • Diseased Plants The disease that these plants carry won't go away so it is definitely best to keep these bad boys out of the compost. It will spread to other plants, giving them the same fate. Yikes!

  • Animal Waste Don't do it! Keep the animal waste in their waste bags and straight into the trashcan. Not only is it gross, but it can contain parasites that can contaminate your compost pile.

  • Meat and bones You shouldn't compost any kind of meat. The meat will slowly decay within your compost, attracting animals, which can harm your garden. This can also attract pests such as rodents and flies.

  • Dairy products such as butter, milk, yogurt Composting this will create odor problems, and this will attract unwanted friends too such as rodents and flies.

Compost Starters

If you are super excited to get this process going quickly, use a good compost starter. A compost starter uses microorganisms to break down the composted materials. They will assist in the speed at which compost is made.

Compost starters can be purchased at local department stores such as Lowes, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, and you can even order some off Amazon! however, if you're looking to save some money, you can also use completely broken-down compost as a compost starter. Broken down compost provides the necessary microbes that are found in department compost starters.

Worker cycling the compost material

Composting Tips

Be sure to keep the compost in a good spot in your yard such as under a tree so that it can be in the shade and stay dry! It is best that you mix the compost often while adding in some water will help maintain the compost longer.

Not sure what to do all of your grass clippings? Easy- Bag your grass! You can always use them for composting in the future. The clippings provide everything that new grass needs to grow. After approximately a year of composting, the grass can be applied to the top of your lawn as a top dressing. This works as a fertilizer, helping cut down some costs.

packs of grass placing on the field


We understand that it can be frustrating to see your yard not all one shade of green. Luckily, different shades of green are something we all can avoid! Hopefully after reading this article, you have basic knowledge of why this happens and what you can do to prevent this from happening to your yard. Who knows maybe you can even share these tips you learned from this article with your neighbors and you all could have the best looking lawns all across the whole neighborhood!

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