How to Compost - Magnificent Garden Soil| Pretty Handy Girl
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How to Compost – Magnificent Garden Soil

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you compost? Oh my gosh, if you don’t, why not?!!! It is easy, it’s great for the environment and it will result in amazing nutrient rich soil that surpasses anything you can buy from a store! Some of the additional benefits are that you will reduce the amount of trash you produce and keep things out of the landfill.

Keep reading to learn How to Compost and create your own magnificent garden soil!

Now, I totally understand if you are living in the big city in an apartment and really don’t have space for compost let alone potted plants (but if you do want to compost, read more about worm composting in a container.) However, f you have a yard, you really should be composting! It’s easy, it takes very little time, and my little wiggly BFFs (aka worms) do all the work for you.

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

That’s right, they eat up all your kitchen and yard waste and turn it into beautiful black soil. How do they do it? If I tell you, you have to promise that you won’t get grossed out. They poop it out. LOL. Yup, compost is decomposition and worm castings (a nicer word for worm poop.) Please don’t run away, find out how easy it is to create this magnificent garden soil.

Here’s the basics for how to compost and get top quality soil for your garden and landscaping for FREE!

How to Compost – Magnificent Garden Soil Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

  • Spading ForkHow to Compost
  • Sealed bucket or container to store kitchen scraps:

Attractive Compost Pails I wouldn't mind having in my kitchen!

Blue and White Floral CrockSea Blue Compost CrockGreen Stoneware Crock
 Copper Compost Bin  |  OXO Flip Lid Compost Container  |  Red Ceramic Crock
Green Metal Pail  | Bamboo Compost Pail  | Sprout Compost Container

 

What can be composted?

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Kitchen scraps
    • raw fruits
    • vegetables
    • egg shells
  • Coffee grounds and the filter
  • Newspapers, non-glossy cardboard, paper towels
  • Leaves (brown for carbon and green for nitrogen rich)
  • Grass clippings
  • Plant & flower clippings
  • Yard waste

What can’t be composted?

  • Meats
  • Dairy products
  • Processed foods
  • Plastic
  • Man made substances
  • Metals

Okay, you get the picture. Only raw fruits and veggies (and egg shells), okay?

Location:

Your pile doesn’t have to be anything special. A simple a hole in the ground is fine. Find a partially shaded spot in your yard. A shady spot is ideal so the pile doesn’t get dried out in the hot sun. If you’ve had a dry spell for a while, go ahead and water the pile. If you have pets, put a little fencing around it to keep them from getting into the compost. (Eating decomposing food can make them sick.) Don’t worry too much about wild animals (unless you have a serious pest problem.) Animals will come sniffing around and may dig a scrap or two out of the pile, but they rarely take up residence in your yard. However, if you are concerned about pests, go ahead and purchase a closed bin for your yard.  Otherwise, save your money, a fancy tumbler or bin aren’t necessary for the compost to produce.

How to Compost:

Keep your compost bucket in your kitchen. (We keep our pail under the sink, but if you have a pretty container you can leave it on the countertop.)

How to Compost - Magnificent Garden Soil| Pretty Handy Girl

After cutting veggies or fruit, toss the scraps in the bucket. Coffee grounds can get thrown in, filter and all! Egg shells are also great for your compost.

When the bucket is full, take your scraps outside to the compost pile. Clear a hole in your pile, dump the scraps and cover them over with dirt or soil (this will prevent attracting too much wildlife to your pile.)

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

Occasionally throw in some torn up strips of newspaper to add some “carbon” source to the pile. The key to a healthy compost is to have a good mixture of green (nitrogen rich) vs. brown (carbon rich) materials. Don’t overload on grass clippings or yard waste.

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

Flip some fresh soil on top of the scraps and walk away! That’s it. What about my BFFs, the worms? If you start the pile, they will come. Trust me, they’ll find your pile. If you’re super antsy, you could buy some red wigglers from a fishing bait place, but honestly why bother? Soon you’ll have big fat overfed worms happily working for you for free. Go back in 2-3 weeks and check on the progress of your magnificent garden soil.

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

I usually grab my magnificent soil from the bottom when I need it. But, you can split your pile in two. Use one side to add scraps to and let the other side “marinade” to perfection. Then switch sides. Frankly my little worm army works pretty fast. Within a month they have produced enough compost to fill some potted plants and more. I rarely buy soil anymore unless I need a huge amount.

What about composting in the winter? If you aren’t under a dumping of snow, your pile can still work in the winter. In fact, you’ll be surprised to see the warm steam rising from the pile when you dig into the center.

Compost Tea:

Now that you have a rockin’ compost pile you may want to learn how to make a compost tea to further nourish your plants and help them be healthier and heartier! I haven’t tried it yet, but you better believe I’ll be brewing some compost tea this year.

Share this article with your friends and do something environmentally friendly! Pin this graphic to refer to later:

How to Compost - Magnificent Garden Soil| Pretty Handy Girl

Now that you have compost to use, learn how to create a rot resistant planter bed:

How to Build a Rot-Resistant Raised Planter Bed | Pretty Handy Girl

And maybe you want to dip your toes in the Square Foot Gardening craze!

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91 replies
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  1. rozylass
    rozylass says:

    So what do I do when I am under a dumping of snow? No one addresses that circumstance. I live in MN and can’t get to my compost pile after the first snowfall. Any ideas?

    Reply
  2. Rita
    Rita says:

    I am somewhat late to this party but what about using a Vitamix? Throw the stuff in there, give ‘er a whirl and pour it into the compost pile? Yes?

    Reply
  3. Rachael
    Rachael says:

    Hi,
    I’m a new homeowner and have been doing some research on building a garden. I came across your article and thought that its super informative. My only question is, when should I start the compost process, with it being late January and everything here in CT I don’t want to start too soon, or too late. I can’t wait to start gardening this spring. thanks for all your helpful advice!

    Reply
  4. Esther Abe
    Esther Abe says:

    I have accidentally found your website thru pintrist. This is my problem – I have been unsuccessful with my tumbler composter. Can you give me some instructions? I have no problems with my bin composters — I have two bins going all the time..
    I also had maggots, but have solved that problem by adding more dry ingredients, i.e. dry leaves to absorb some of that excess moisture.

    Reply
  5. k.k.sharma
    k.k.sharma says:

    Thanks for the god and helpful article on compost. Presently I amusing cow dung compost which I purchased from the nursery but found termites in it because it was some what in raw condition. I want to use boric acid power to kill. these tiny creatures. Kindly tell me if I use water for sprinkling on it through sprinkler pot whether I have to wear gloves . If not what will be the harm to naked hands if if I do not use gloves.

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      I don’t know the answer, but to be safe I’d wear gloves. Also, not sure that you need to kill the termites. They are naturally occurring in areas of decaying wood. Just don’t put them near your house.

      Reply
  6. AuntFer13
    AuntFer13 says:

    Maggots and stink mentioned in previous posts, I’ve got a solution…The large plastic coffee containers (mine specifically being the red Folgers) are fantastic under the sink. Simply dump all the kitchen scraps, coffee filters, etc. and close the lids. It seals tight and never issues with bugs or smells (stinks only when opened to add more sometimes). When full, dump them in the outdoor compost, rinse with garden hose, wash in dishwasher. The outdoor compost in the meantime is being filled with leaves, plants, and other ‘brown’ ingredients. It’s been working for us for several years.

    Reply
    • Stacy
      Stacy says:

      I actually keep my kitchen scraps in a plastic bin that I keep in the door of my freezer …..no rotting food…..no magots….no smell….when bin is full and its dry enough to trek out to the garden I go dump the bin and out the empty container back in the freezer
      Oh……i also just dump my scraps unto the garden all winter not a seperate compost pile…..in the growing season I dig holes in areas where there are no plants and dump my kitchen scraps there and cover with soil when hole is full ……been doing it for years and have had great sucess and great soil!!!!! Lots and lits of worms!!!!!

      Reply

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