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How To Compost - 5 Steps of Composting

Back to Composting Guide

First consider how much waste you will be able to place in your compost bin. If you have a medium or large lawn and intend to put the grass clippings in, you may need a bigger bin. If you will mostly be recycling your kitchen waste, a smaller bin or Bokashi bucket may be enough for you.

Keep in mind that a bin that will make ready compost faster (like a tumbler) will be emptied faster. Therefore will not need to hold as much. For example with a faster bin you may need to hold two months of waste before ready but a slow bin may need to hold four months worth. 

Once you have decided on the size of the composting bin you will need to find a good location in your yard. Try to find a sunny spot that will allow for easy access for filling and emptying. Ideally your bin should be on bare soil. A tumbling composter usually has no access to the soil so it is not that crucial to be above soil however keep in mind that most of them will leak liquid below them.
 
 
Most organic waste can be put into a compost bin. Collect organic waste from your kitchen in a container of some sort. A compost caddy and compostable liner are also available for purchase. Once the container is full or after a couple of days empty the contents (including the liner) into your compost bin. Take care not to compost cooked food, meat or fish.
A Bokashi bucket which uses Bokashi microbes can be used to for ALL organic material and stores for months till the bucket is full and then emptied into a compost bin or bury in the soil (instructions for using the Bokashi bucket)
 
 
Empty the contents of your kitchen caddy or your Bokashi bucket into your compost bin. All organic waste from the garden can be added to your bin as well. It's good to get the mixture of green and brown waste about the same to ensure your compost heap is effective and does not smell.
 
 
Making compost can take as little as a couple of months or as long as a year. The timeframe would depend on factors such as your mixture, volume of waste, weather, frequency of turning and other factors. A lot of these are within your control. For example you can cut down the waste to as small as possible (like with a wood chipper), ensure the mixture is not too wet or dry and regular turning.

For static bins (non rotating bin) the waste at the bottom would be ready first as it has been there the longest. For rotating bins it will be ready at the same time as it is constantly being mixed. For this sort of bin you will need to stop adding new waste in order for the compost to mature. Dual compartment tumblers are available.
When the waste has turned in to a dark, crumbly material like soil and has a natural earthy smell then you have ready compost.
 
 
For a static composter you can collect the waste from the hatch (or hatches) at the bottom of the bin. The waste at the bottom may be ready first as it has been in there longest. Alternatively you can lift or tilt the entire bin and gather the compost.
For a turning bin there are several options depending on your preference and the style of bin. You can place a bucket (if it fits) or a tarp and open the door and turn the drum around for the compost to fall out. You can also scoop it out while rotated to the side. 
Your compost can be mixed into the soil or placed above the existing soil. You can also use it in planters outside or around the house. The nutrient rich fermented waste from the Bokashi bucket can be buried in the soil (or in a compost bin) as it has not finished breaking down.