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What is Compost: Learn The Basics of Home Composting in Two Minutes

basics of composting

This is one of the sequel from my earlier blogs about the importance of going Organic and the real meaning of going organic. So if you haven’t read those two articles I strongly recommend you to do that.

Compost is an integral part of Organic Gardening. In this article, I want to share some thoughts about the process of home composting. After finishing the article you will know how to make your own compost.

Compost is organic. It's free and it's easy to make. Click To Tweet

What is Compost:

what is compost
what is compost

The word “Compost” comes from two Latin roots, “Com” means “together” and “Post” means “to bring”. So basically Compost means To bring together. You bring various things and mix them all together to form a compost.

Composting is based on the principle of return. As humans, we reap things from the earth in the form of produce. But we are not alone, many other life forms also come into play and run the total cycle.

It is vital to also give something back to the earth. The compost is a way of using up what we have in abundance to repay a long-standing debt to the earth.

basics of home composting
basics of composting

Why Composting? What are the Benefits of Composting:

Using compost in gardens is a win-win scenario. Compost not only feeds the soil and plants but also does it in a most efficient manner. It’s organic, it’s free and it’s easy.

Here are some reasons why compost for plants is a must and you should always go for composting.

  • Compost not only contains the major elements that your plants need for the ultimate growth such as Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK) but also the trace elements. Elements such as Boron, Cobalt, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, and Zinc that are sometimes overlooked by the gardeners are present in organic compost. This is due to their varied sources. You can read more about compost ingredients to get a clearer idea.
  • The release rate of nutrients is suitable for your plant’s need. In the spring, when the plants just started to grow, the microorganisms in compost release the nutrients slowly. As the weather starts getting warmer plants growth become more rapid and so as the release rate of nutrients. Compost is the nature’s way of controlling the release rate of nutrients.
  • Compost increases the water retention capacity of the soil. They can hold water up to 200% of its dry weight. So you need to water less.
  • Garden compost adds micro-organism and larger creatures such as earthworms and insects, which are natural soil builders.
  • Compost binds with cadmium and lead and thus neutralize the toxin present in the soil and prevents plants from taking up those materials.
  • Garden compost acts as a pH buffer. You can lower the pH by adding compost made from acidic raw materials, such as oak, sawdust, etc.
  • Home composting is FREE. It won’t cost you money.
  • You will reduce the cost of waste disposal when you start making compost at home.
Using compost in gardens is a win-win scenario. It not only feeds the soil and plants but also does it in a most efficient manner. Click To Tweet

How To Compost:

how to make compost
how to make compost

The Most Beautiful Composter in the World, Made in the USA, Food Safe, BPA and Rust Free

There are four parts of a composting process

  1. Composting ingredients
  2. Moisture
  3. Air
  4. Micro-organisms.

1. Compost ingredients:

This has to be organic. Composting ingredients can be plant material or animal materials.

The rule of thumb for making compost is that it should contain 2 parts of vegetable matter (grass, leaves, straw etc) and one part animal matter (manure). The greater the number of material in the compost more the type of organisms will be at work.

You can use any material to prepare compost just remember, the material should have two qualities:

  1. It should be bio-degradable.
  2. It must contain things that are usable and available to the microorganisms.

Choose your composting ingredients wisely. Make sure your C/N ratio is maintained. Read more about this.

Try to add as different kinds of material to your compost pile. The greater the number the more the type of organisms will be at work. Click To Tweet

2. Moisture in Compost:

Moisture is crucial for the composting process to complete. If the compost pile is too dry, the decomposing rate would be slow. If the pile is too wet, it will create a foul smell.

Keep adding water if mixture becomes too dry or when adding large amounts of brown organic material.

If you feel the water content is becoming too much for your liking add dry, brown organic materials to the compost mixture.

3. Air/Oxygen:

For a proper breakdown of materials, oxygen is a must. To provide much-needed air you have to turn the compost pile from time to time. It is important to complete the composting process and combating odor.

4. Micro-Organisms

Micro-organisms are the main workers in the composting process. They break down the ingredients into useful compost.

You can also add layers of soil or finished compost to supply these organisms. This will speed up the composting process.

Different Types of Organisms Present in the Compost:


  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Actinomycetes


Micro-organisms are the main workers in the composting process. They break down the waste into useful compost. Click To Tweet

How much time does it need to compost?

There are a quite a few factors that determine the total time needed to compost. the composting process is actually a slow process but you can speed up the process by following some simple tricks. I have mentioned those in a separate article.

Once the compost is ready you can add it in the gardens to grow vegetables, flowers or perennials.

Recommended Read: Let it Rot!: Gardener’s Guide to Composting 

If this article helped you in any form, please put your word of encouragement below.

Readers Comments (2)

  1. since i am living in city, it is not possible to use animal matter then what is the alternative to this/

  2. Thank you. Am learning much from your blog.

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