How to Make a Garden Compost

Save money and the environment with these simple steps for creating a natural fertilizer.

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Materials Needed

  • compost bin
  • mix of brown and green materials
  • large garden fork

Step 1: Choose Compost Spot

Position Compost Bin in Garden for Easy Access

Position Compost Bin in Garden for Easy Access

After choosing a compost bin that suits specific needs, position it in the garden where it can be easily reached and tended.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Choose a compost bin to suit your needs, and position it in the garden where it can be easily accessed and tended.

Step 2: Collect Materials

Add Raw Kitchen Waste and Clippings to Compost

Add Raw Kitchen Waste and Clippings to Compost

Add uncooked kitchen waste as well as healthy plant material and grass clippings to the compost heap. Be careful of adding perennial weeds or diseased plants.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Add uncooked kitchen waste as well as healthy plant materials and grass clippings to your heap. Do not add animal waste, meat, cooked food, diseased plants, or fresh perennial weeds. Pick out any perennial weeds or diseased plants.

Step 3: Layer Waste

Layer Green and Brown Material in Compost Heap

Layer Green and Brown Material in Compost Heap

Build up the compost heap in layers of green and brown material to blend the materials and to give the finishe compost a good structure and texture. Use a garden fork to blend the layers.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Build up your heap in layers of green and brown material to blend the materials and give the finished compost a good structure and texture. Green waste includes lawn clippings, annual weeds, plant trimmings, and other soft material that rots down quickly, bringing nitrogen and moisture to the mix. Shredded cardboard and dead leaves are good brown-waste materials—they are dry, rich in carbon, and give compost structure. Green materials rot to a smelly sludge, but brown materials balance out the compost to produce a rich, crumbly texture.

Step 4: Turn Heap

Turn Compost Periodically for Faster Results

Turn Compost Periodically for Faster Results

Turn the heaps of compost regularly with a garden fork to mix up the rotting materials and aerate the heap. This will help the mixture to compost more thoroughly.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Turn the heap periodically with a garden fork to mix up all the rotting materials and aerate the heap; this also helps the mixture compost more thoroughly.