How to Make a Garden Compost

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

From: DK Books - Gardeners Guide
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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

©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

©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

©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

©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.

Next Up

How to Brew Compost Tea

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to brew your own compost tea, ideal for nourishing plants.

How to Compost Kitchen Waste

Although it's becoming easier to recycle food and beverage packaging, most of our domestic waste still goes into the trash. Reduce the amount of garbage you throw away by composting your kitchen food waste.

Make a Composting Bin

A homemade composting bin is just as good as a bought one, and you can make it whatever size and shape best suits your garden and the quantity of material you want to compost.

Making Compost

This crumbly, soil-like material improves soil texture by increasing the drainage of heavy clay soils and the water and nutrient retention of light, sandy soils.

How to Make Compost

With the right technique, making organic compost can be an easy, eco-friendly way to nourish plants.

Composting Essentials

Composting conveniently disposes of your garden cuttings and trimmings while also creating a wonderful soil improver. It can be as simple as throwing all your waste into a pile, but you'll get better results if you follow a few guidelines.

Create Compost With a Wormery

Inside a wormery, worms break down kitchen waste and turn it into rich compost. They can even cope with scraps, such as cooked food. Wormeries are available from specialist suppliers.

How to Compost Indoors

Even in the middle of winter, you can still collect compostable materials.

How to Clear and Compost Leaves

Learn how to clear unwanted leaves from your lawn and turn them into a rich compost for use as a soil conditioner or adding to potting soil.