How to Start Composting

Composting is an excellent way to recover the nutrients in dead plant tissue to improve the vitality of new plants. Many homeowners choose to engage in composting because it can be a great way to reduce the amount of money spent on fertilizer. If you want to compost, start by understanding which materials are compostable. Next, you’ll need to decide where to compost.

Inside or Out?

Even if you don’t have space for an outdoor compost bin, you can still compost. Special containers for composting are available from hardware stores or other retailers. Watch what you put into your container, and you should have compost in two to five weeks. If you choose to compost outdoors, you’ll need to find a dry, shady spot near a source of water to locate your compost pile or bin.

What to Compost

Most organic materials found in your backyard can be composted. Be careful to compost biodegradable materials and organic materials only, such as leaves, flowers, and grass clippings. Note that some materials can take longer to finish composting than others; branches and logs can take several years to decompose. If you want to decompose heavier organic materials, you might consider creating multiple composting bins for items that take longer to transform into topsoil. Man-made materials such as plastic and rubber can take thousands of years to decompose, so it is generally best to simply recycle these items.

Composting Bin

If you’d like to start composting, start by establishing a composting bin in a designated area of your yard. Many stores sell composting bins constructed from a wide range of materials.


If you strive to live a sustainable lifestyle, make sure you use a composting bin made from organic materials. Manufacturers trying to save money often use plastic, which will continue to pollute the environment for thousands of years. If you must use plastic, recycle your composting bin when you stop composting.

The Composting Process

Composting usually takes only a couple of months to complete, but it can vary significantly based on the materials used. Grass and leaves placed in a composting bin before the winter will usually fully decompose by spring. Since composting is facilitated by heat, you’ll want to be sure to keep as much heat as you can inside the composting bin, using insulated wrappings. If you compost correctly, you’ll get a sustainable batch of topsoil at the beginning of every growing season.

How to Use Compost

When the composting process is done correctly, a nutrient-rich batch of soil will be available to help your new plants grow. Compost is so rich you’ll want to mix it with ordinary soil to maximize its value.


One of the greatest benefits of composting is that decomposed material can help to improve your health by replacing chemical-laden fertilizer, allowing you to live a more sustainable lifestyle and reducing the pollutants you spread in your garden.