DIY Composting

By Megan Vick


Composting is great to do at home, but it can be a tricky, nasty, smelly, and unproductive business if you don’t start it correctly. After some epic fails at my home, here are some “Do’s” and “Don’ts.”


–          Compost if you have yard space for a bin, tumbler, or giant trash can (must be circular)

–          Toss in produce, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags & leaves, shredded mail, animal bedding (hamsters, guinea pigs, etc), sawdust, hair (from your hairbrush), nail clippings, natural fibers like 100% wool or cotton (in small pieces)

–          Turn or tumble your heap weekly to mix up the material and spread the decomposition process evenly

–          Add manure from a horse or cow (any herbivore)

–          Add a compost starter or accelerator

–          Be patient!


–          Don’t try to compost if you live in a small place. It’s too much work, too much mess, and little to no reward.  If you’re in an apartment, try starting a community compost area for all the residents!

–          Don’t compost ashes, cat feces or litter, dog feces, colored paper, lime, meat/bones/fat/grease/oils, toxic materials, etc.

–          Don’t leave your compost in an open pile as it could attract pests and rodents.

–          Don’t add seeds- they just might sprout!

–          Don’t use compost as soil- use it in addition to the soil

There are other methods of composting like vermiculture (or vermicompost), hot composting, or toilet composting (yes, it’s true). For starters, I recommend you stick with regular composting and work your way to one of the other trickier options. You’ll get the same outcome- beautiful, rich, dark compost that was well worth the wait!


Have you tried composting at home? What did you do and how did it turn out?