For those new to gardening, composting is one of those mysterious subjects that can too-easily make us feel inadequate. It’s so scientific, and the instructions we find on the internet all seem so complicated.
However, this is one of those gardening activities where even a little bit of effort is so much better than no effort at all. We don’t have to do it perfectly in order to reap a great deal of benefit.
No compost heap is a failure if it at least keeps our yard waste out of a landfill.
There are precise recipes and instructions and even specially-made composting containers all over the internet. If you want to make excellent garden compost as quickly as possible, those instructions are for you.
If, however, you simply want to begin, here is all you need to know:
- Layer a mixture of “brown” and “green” materials, with more brown (about 3x as much)
- Brown materials are dry: chopped, dry leaves, pine needles, small twigs, wood shavings, shredded newspaper or cardboard
- Green materials are wet: fresh grass clippings, fresh garden debris, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells
If yours is a dry climate, an occasional sprinkle with a garden hose will help promote decomposition.
Turning a pile (perhaps with a garden fork) is supposed to help speed up decomposition, but isn’t strictly necessary.
What about containers? Feel free to forgo all together and simply make a heap. If you’d like to neaten up the look of your pile, any fence or screen that allows air circulation should do the job.