How to start an easy compost

By Erika Enigk

Composting 101

Thinking about composting but don’t know where to start? Here are some tips.  

What is composting?

Composting is a great way to use up materials that would otherwise go in the garbage and take up space in landfills. It’s also a nice way to enrich soil so your plants will grow. Good compost is made of three key ingredients: 

• Dead plant materials like leaves and twigs 

• Household waste like vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells (don’t use dairy or meat though!) 

• Soil 

How do I use it?

The first thing you need to do is start your compost. You can do this in something as small as an empty soda bottle or as big as a trench in your yard. If this is your first time, try the soda bottle first.

Clean and rinse it thoroughly, then cut the top until you can open and close the bottle by flipping the top. 

Put some soil in the bottom, and spray it with water. Add a layer of kitchen scraps like orange peels or coffee grounds and spray with water again. Then soil. Then leaves. Then soil, kitchen scraps, soil, leaves and so on until the bottle is filled almost to where the top was cut. Each time you put down a new layer, spray it with water. 

Put the bottle in a sunny spot, and roll it around every day to mix up the soil, scraps and leaves. If the soil looks dry, add a bit of water. If the bottle is wet with condensation, open it up and let it dry out a bit. After about a month, your compost will be well mixed and crumbly. That’s when you can start using it to feed your plants!