How do I start composting?

We noticed a trending topic in the GrowIt! Q&A — composting. And since we’ll soon be transferring pumpkins off the front stoop, let’s keep them out of the trash. It’s the perfect time to start a compost bin to feed your garden.

What are the benefits of composting? Member @kgkamka5 credits her compost of “coffee grounds, egg shells, and potato peels” as the secret to her magnificent Clematis.


GrowIt! member @Queenofthedaisies asks:

“Any tips on how to start a small compost bin, in a multi-season state? How does it survive the winter?”

@Ascot83 jumped in to share his advice:

“There are tons of articles available with a general google search, but here are my tips (I live in Minneapolis, so definitely multi-season):

  • Choose a location that has convenient access. If it’s hard to get to, you won’t use it.

  • Buy or DIY a compost bin. Larger is better! Also, just a “pile” is fine too.

  • Simply make a pile of organic waste including browns and greens. Browns are things like dead leaves, paper, cardboard, coffee grounds, anything dead or dry. Greens are…green! Veggie/fruit scraps, lawn clippings, plant clippings, etc. A good balance will keep it perfectly moist. Not too dry, not soupy.

  • DO add: egg cartons, egg shells, small branches (cut up), sawdust.

  • DON’T add: meat, citrus peels, anything too acidic, fat/lard, plastics or industrial composted materials.

  • Also, it’s great (and ok, if you’re healthy) to pee on it! The urea and ammonia will give it a great jump start.

  • Keep your pile evenly moist.

  • SAVE EVERYTHING! (From the kitchen) I have a metal pail on my kitchen floor – as I cook/clean I just plop the scraps into the bucket – when it’s full, I dump it!

When your pile has grown to a good size, give it a good flip/stir every few days to let it breathe. It will take a few months but you’ll have the most amazing black compost for your beds.”

Tap here from mobile to join the conversation! You’ll find even more composting tips and tricks from gardeners nationwide.

One of our favorite online sources for easy-to-follow advice is Check out their Composting blog post—and if you’re ready for it, Make a Worm Composting Bin!

Tap the questions below to view other recent compost discussions. Have a question of your own? Tap here to learn How to Ask a Question.

Compost anyone? Do you actively engage in making compost for the garden?

How to make your own compost?

What is a cheap bin for compost?

What is your experience and/or recommendations with compost tea?

Has anyone tried “lasagna gardening” (or sheet composting)?