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Composting for Beginners

Updated on June 5, 2015

Composting Basics

The art of composting, when mastered, can be an invaluable tool for all gardeners. Instead of buying costly bags of compost you can make it, with relative ease in your own back yard. Compost is important to the eco-system of your soil and it generates and imporoves the make up of the soil. It drives populations of bacteria, fungi, worms and many other life forms, all very important ingredients to a good soil. As compost breaks down it becomes the driver of soil structure- millions of invisible cracks in the ground. This provides air the plant roots, without which most plants would die. Compost releases a natural fertiliser and it gently feeds the plants that grow in in.

Compost dug into your soil proir to planting out a new bed should become a routine for all gardeners. Compost might be a good gentle food but it will need a helping hand feeding greedy fast growing vegetables, so add some manure as well. You can also use compost for mulch, potting mix and even make liquid fertiliser out of it.So if you are wondering why you need compost, all those reasons are starting to make composting a worthwhile project. Best of allit costs next to nothing. A great price to pay to have you garden growing strong.

The most compost option for the beginner is a plastic compost bin. They are are available from from hardware stores and garden supplies. They can be put out of site and although they are best to be in a sunny spot to allow the compost to heat up, which speeds up the breakdown process. If you can afford it it is best to have two or even three bins on the go at the one time. This will assure you of a plentiful supply of quality compost.


  • fruit and vegie scraps from the kitchen
  • lawn clippings
  • garden trimmings and prunings
  • shredded newspaper
  • old garden mulch or straw
  • ash from the fireplace
  • blood and bone
  • coffee grounds and tea leaves
  • cow, horse or chook poo.


  • Cat or dog poo
  • cooked food with meat content
  • diseased plants
  • anything that was not living i.e. plastic
  • bones or meat

Remember that the main thing most compost heaps need is air. The more you remember to fork over the contents of your bin the better. The microbes which break everything down inside a compost bin are little living creatures and they need air to breathe. Compost also needs water but do not let your compost bin get too wet or this will slow the process down.

Once your compost bin is really full its time to switch over to you other bin. Don't add anything new just give yourself a few more weeks for the compost to fully breakdown. Now all your and the microbes hard work has paid off and you can add the beautiful compost to your garden. You will have the best garden and vegies in town

© 2011 jackavc


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    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks for the great information on composting. I always feel guilty when I prune my garden and don't put it in a bin for this. Nice work.

    • mattdigiulio profile image


      7 years ago

      Jack, I'm a big advocate of composting, so I can corroborate all of this good advice. Well done, Matt


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