Composting 101: The Basics to Get You Started


Have you been wondering what the heck composting is? Good, because I have the answer! Composting is a simple way to add nutrients to your soil, which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to worn-out soil. It’s taking your waste from your home and turning it into something your garden has been wishing for! Try out these tips to get reduce your environmental footprint and maybe even save some cash!

Get a Great Composter

    • If a back yard composter works for you (I love ours!) then consider this compact model from Soilsaver. It takes up about 2 square feet and holds more than our family of 5 can use in a year (including a good portion of yard waste).
    • Don’t want the work of going outside to dump your waste and want fast result? Save your pennies and get a fabulous machine from NatureMill. These bad boys make composting a breeze (I have been lusting over these for years now).
    • Of course, you can still do it the old fashioned way and just have a compost pile too, it’s all up to you and your needs and comfort level.

Know the Dos and Don’ts

Have no fear, there aren’t a lot of rules, just a few things to keep in mind.

    • Unless you have an automatic composter (like the NatureMill) you’ll want to keep stinky foods to a minimum. That means no meats and try to limit things like dairy products as they will smell and could attract pests (though an enclosed composter should keep them out).
    • Yard waste is great to add to your composter, but keep in mind the purpose. If you plan to use the soil in your garden, I would not recommend putting weeds in the compost as some seeds and things may survive only to become a headache in your new gardening spaces.
    • This List is great as a general guide for when you are just starting out to know what to put in and what to skip.
    • Turn it – this can be optional depending on your composter, but we like to give ours a turn (with a shovel or pitch fork) at least once during the warm weather months to help speed up the composting process.
    • Keep it close, but not too close. Our composter is several feet from our back door – close enough for convenience, but not so close that it could be an inconvenience.

Maximize Your Impact

Between composting and recycling our family has been able to eliminate our trash service, saving us a bundle. We still have trash, of course, but it’s such a small amount that we are able to make a small trip to the landfill once or twice a year to dispose of what we can’t recycle or compost, and the fee is nominal.

Inspired by her family, Amanda discovered a passion for sustainable and healthy living. Her inquisitive nature and love for educating launched her career as a blogger, social media guru and digital design addict. She enjoys writing about healthy foods, safe products and quality living. Discover more at

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