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Materials for Composting

Composting your organic waste allows you to create nutrient-dense food for your garden. Creating a compost pile requires only a small amount of space and a few materials to get started. Once it’s up and running, you simple need to keep feeding the pile so that you can have a steady stream of compost for your garden.

Compost Bin

A compost bin gives you a place to compost. They typically come in black or dark green, which heats up the compost inside, helping the process along. One of the biggest benefits to having a bin is that the cover eliminates some of the smell and prevents animals and bugs from invading your waste. Compost bins come in a variety of sizes, so you can choose the size that’s right for your family. You may also want to have more than one. Some smaller bins have a handle that you can use to rotate the bin, mixing up all your materials.

Twigs or Straw

If you have a stationary compost bin, you’ll want a layer of twigs or straw on the bottom. This helps with drainage and allows air to come through the bottom.

Carbonaceous Materials

You need a blend of materials that produce carbon and materials that produce nitrogen. To get carbon, turn toward earthy and brown materials, such as dried leaves and grass or hay. You can also shred cardboard or paper to add carbon to your pile.

Nitrogenous Materials

Materials that contain a lot of nitrogen are mostly wet, such as your fruit and vegetable scraps, fresh grass clippings and coffee grounds. Your vegetable scraps should not have any fat, so don’t add vegetables that you’ve prepared with butter, for example. Try to layer the carbonaceous and nitrogenous materials as much as you can.


Worms help the decomposition process by eating the materials. You can purchase a package of worms specifically for composting.

Large Stick

You want to stir your compost pile occasionally, so if you don’t have the kind of composter that has a handle to turn, you will want a large stick. It should be big enough to reach the bottom of the bin and strong enough to stir heavy materials.

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