Composting 101 — Making Compost in Composting Bins and Compost Piles

Hi, I’m Tricia, a California organic gardener last autumn i took a very inspiring
composting class from one of our local bio-dynamic farmers I came away from that class with a great
understanding about how important and natural it is to
transform organic wastes into soil building substances and today I’m going to build a compost pile and I’m going to show you the tips for home composting. There are many different composting bins
that you can buy or you can make your own or you can just start a pile right on
the ground. I’m going to use this Soil Saver Compost Bin today Once you’ve decided where to place your
compost pile or your bin the next step is to decide what to compost. There’s 2 types of materials we’re going to use for composting, brown materials which are high in carbon green materials high in nitrogen. Some examples of brown materials are
straw, leaves, pine needles, and newspaper. And some examples of green materials are chicken manure and food scraps and coffee grounds. Let’s build the pile! First thing I’m going to do is layer some straw. Your compost pile will decompose faster
if your brown materials are shredded. Now I’m going to add a layer of green. Be sure and alternate your brown layers and green layers about four to six inches thick. Depending on what kind of brown and
green materials you used, the ratio will vary. Start with a 50/50 mix and watch your pile. If your pile isn’t getting hot enough add a little bit more green material like the chicken manure. or if starts to have an ammonia smell add a little bit more brown material like the leaves. Then you want to remember layer your pile brown………………… Make sure and water in between layers. You want your compost pile to be moist like a damp sponge so that it decomposes quickly. I’ve given you some ideas on things that
you can use for your compost pile now I’m going to tell you some things you shouldn’t use manure is okay but no meat or dairy scraps no dog or cat poop…no human poop either your compost will decompose faster if you stir it or aerate it if you have a tumbling compost bin this part is much easier you should turn your compost pile at least once a
week a well areated pile will turnout finished
compost in a couple of months where an unturned pile will take as long as a year. today I’m using a compost aerator to speed up the composting process you can take some inoculate and add it to
water and spray it on your compost pile this inoculate contains specifically
cultured bacteria, enzymes, and fungus your compost pile has to get hot and a great tool to measure the
temperature is this compost thermometer a good batch of compost should warm up
to a hundred and twenty to hundred and sixty degrees over time killing most seeds but preserving the beneficial microbial
life once it cools off again it’s ready for the garden well i hope that my very basic tips
on how to build a compost pile helped but if you want more information i
recommend this book the “Rodale Book of Composting” easy methods for all gardeners imagine
if we all composted we could reduce our landfill waste up to thirty percent and
we’d all have healthier gardens so compost and Grow Organic for Life!

99 thoughts on “Composting 101 — Making Compost in Composting Bins and Compost Piles

  1. @groworganic Thanks for the video. I have been using the same compost bin and aeration tool for a couple years. I try to force the tool all the way to the bottom(with a turning movement) which when pulled back up really bring air into the system. It really speeds up the process. I can turn a full bin around in 3 to 4 weeks doing that plus I always save some of the finished compost to mix into the next batch to give it bump in bio activity.

  2. Thanks for the video! I too have the Rodale Book of Composting I picked up from a local natural garden and nursery. It was a great help for me getting started and your videos provides all the information needed for basics. Good luck on your composting and natural farming and keep up the good work!

  3. @DimplesDeep1 Yes, composting can certainly be done in the winter months. Just cover your pile with a tarp or a compost cover because if the pile gets soggy the decomposition will stop. It should be moist like a damp sponge.

  4. I recently read on the Organic Gardening website, that the layered process is no longer recommended. They say that is is better to thoroughly mix all the ingredients and moisten. Kind of like a tossed salad.

  5. Does it matter if you use oak tree leaves and pine straw? Please answer Im about to start I have all that I need.

  6. Both of those are great brown materials and will compost beautifully. Shred them to make them compost faster. Have fun composting!

  7. Thank you for responding. I was watching other videos and the person said not to use the straw and oak trees leaves.

  8. thank you for this video! now i know that, that gray thing we have in the garage is a compost aerator!! I thought at first it is a weed remover. lol .

  9. Doesn't sound you know what you're talking about. It's not brown and green. Get educated on carbon to nitrogen ratio. For example, weeds have the perfect ratio (even though they are "green").

  10. Right you are TableWolfMusic. Vermicomposting takes much less space, we just released a video on how to start a worm bin.


  12. Everyone mentions that meat in a compost pile is huge a no no, but they never explain WHY… its knowing the wine in that cup is poisoned, and telling people, do not drink from that cup, instead of do not drink from that cup, because the wine is poisoned!!! geeeez.

  13. It can be done but there are several potential problems. 1) It will attract vermin and raccoons. 2) Unless it's really mixed into the pile well and cooked instead of raw it will stink. 3) Unless you are running a very hot pile there are pathogens in decomposing meat and dairy that will not be killed. Because of these problems most universities do not recommend doing it for home composting and beginning composters.

  14. The papers from the cages of pet birds can be used instead of chicken manure, although urban and suburban flocks are becoming more popular. As we mentioned you can also use grass clippings, kitchen scraps, and coffee grounds for greens. For browns readily available to the suburbanite are, leaves, newspaper, pine needles and cardboard.

  15. Thank you for the great, informative video!! I am just starting composting and this is a huge help! 🙂 Thanks!

  16. I absolutely love the intro! Very informative video too! Thanks for making this 🙂 Helpful for a beginner. By the way and maybe I shouldn't say it. But you make composting look sexy! Thanks again 🙂

  17. There are pathogens present in those manures that will not be eradicated unless you are running a very hot pile. Even then it is not recommended to use that compost on anything you plan to eat because of the level of pathogens still present. Dog and cat manure also makes a compost high in salts that needs an extended period of curing to be usable on plants.

  18. Paper is a good carbon source but you need some high nitrogen materials like weeds or used coffee grounds.

  19. Great tips! Adding the mole hills is a good idea, that will inoculate the pile with soil bacteria so the pile decomposes faster.

  20. Actually, not composting dog poop or even human poop is bad advice based on fallacies. You should read the book "humanure". For humans to poop into cleaning drinking water is pretty silly and a real waste!

  21. It definitely possible, in fact I've read some fantastic research by the University of Alaska on composting dog manure. However it must be done properly or it can pose serious health risks when it's used on food crops. We want people who are just starting to compost to be safe and not become sick because they made a mistake with their composting.

  22. I'm a vegan & just recently started my compost pile. For about a month now I have only been throwing fruit and vegetable scraps in the bin lol It smells horrible & had fruit flies swarming it. I am just now adding leaves and twigs to the pile. Is my batch ruined since I haven't mixed the carbon and nitrogen in balance?

  23. No the batch isn't ruined. You can save it by getting the proper carbon to nitrogen balance. Newspaper and cardboard are a couple of other high carbon sources you can add to.

  24. Thanks for this quick intro to composting! It seems easy enough. We've had backyard hens for a year now, so we've certainly got chicken droppings to use. 😉

    So, I'm a teacher and don't want to go spending much money to start our compost bins this summer. Would old trash cans work? Do you add earthworms to your compost?

  25. After months of harassing the house owner, I've finally been able to start composting. No more fertilizer for us. In our garden we have tomatoes, lemons, avocados, valencia oranges, blood oranges, figs, squash, cucumbers. So yeah, we can definitely benefit from composting

  26. This is a little late, but I have been composting out of a trash can for a couple of years. The bottom has holes drilled for drainage and I make certain to turn it every so often. I have gotten lovely compost out of it. This last batch has pine shavings and chicken poo from my new chicken project. I occasionally dump out some of the compost-in-progress on the ground and let the chickens dig through and eat anything wriggly! Happy hens!

  27. The smell is caused by anaerobic bacteria. You need to get oxygen into the pile. Only an idiot would think there is a nitrogen carbon balance.. LOL.. If you put straw or leafy material it might help increase the ventilation but only until the cellulose structure weakens and the pile settles. Also Please understand a vegan lifestyle is bad for your body and the earth. That apple that you eat most likely comes from an orchard of grafted trees, cows build topsoil. agriculture destroys topsoil.

  28. Its best to leave dog poop where it lies and let the bugs, microbes and weather break it down. Human waste is a good way to spread disease. It too should be left alone or slightly covered. many feel the best thing to do is to spread human waste or rocks so that it can die out and kill unhealthy pathogens. Keeping human fecal matter warm and moist is a great way to make people sick. Pooping in clean drinking water is a practical solution as the water and waste can be controlled and treated

  29. Keep moist not wet, aerate, provide balance microbes. It has nothing to do with the ratio of green to brown. OH you can also pee on it, that helps speeds thing up.

  30. What is with the random ignorance?

    First of the video is called Composting 101 implying it is for beginners…

    A Vegan Lifestyle is bad for your body and the Earth? Hahaha WOW.

    I have top soil in my backyard and last time I checked my Cow Count was at Zero…How is that Possible!!!?

    Don't Eat That Apple !

    If Ignorance is Bliss…you should be a lot happier

  31. As R.R. Starr said, yes garbage cans would work. Other cheap compost bin options are to use a section of fencing secured in a circle, you can get discarded wooden pallets to make a bin out of, there is the compost sak by smart pots or Geobin that are under $40. The cheapest of all you can pile things in a mound on the ground. The idea of a bin is to make it more contained and easier to handle. Earthworms can't survive in a bin, you would need redworms, brandling worms, or European Nightcrawlers

  32. Composting for beginners is make a pile walk away. turn the pile with a pitchfork occasionally, if dry add water.
    If you do nothing but plant food and eat it your top soil will erode, you will need nutrients to build it up, those nutrients from animals or animal waste. A vegan lifestyle is unhealthy in so many ways, read a book you might learn something. Eat apples just understand the impact apple production has on the environment. IF ignorance is bliss. If is condition thus not a statement.

  33. Hello Michael. You can in fact compost your waste very safely. I use my urine diverting toilet which seperates solid from liquid waste. The solid waste is placed in the center of my composting tower and subjected to the high temperatures of added material. In addition, black soldier fly larva very quickly take over the pit and reduce the waste to about a fifth of its original bulk. The smell is very minimal and only noticable when standing next to the tower.

  34. Feces is almost always harmless to its owner. Mixing feces with others feces and then using it, is the culprit. I use my waste to grow only sweet potatos. In the very unlikely event that some contamination should survive it will be killed when the potato is baked. The black soldier flies also kill all the house fly larva and the reduction of house flies is markedly noticable which also reduces the chance of spreading disease. During winter, I dehydrate my waste and pulverize it for composing.

  35. It is actually much simpler and safer than people imagine. Just a few rules. Don't mix your poop with other peoples poop outside your immediate family. Don't mix poop with pee or water. Don't mix it with animal poop and finally mix it with fresh compost in a 3x4x4 foot composting tower so that it will be thoroughly heat treated. If you cannot compost it (winter) dehydrate and heat it in a screen sealed, ventilated black garbage can and then add it to the compost in the spring. Good stewardship.

  36. Yah urine isn't an issue, infact company designed outdoor urinals where you pee into a hay bale, the urine speeds up the decomposition. Not sure if its a great option but they feel it is better than porta potty. As for solid waste, you could compost waste safely. but in the real world it increases the risk of spreading disease. Perhaps you have not had issue, but composting human waste is a sign of an uneducated person. It should be noted touching or transporting any waste should be avoided.

  37. This was so cute and very well done!  The look on that guy's face when you said "No human poop" was priceless!  Beautiful place you have there and thanks for the helpful video!

  38. All over the net came composting information that's just too complicated. And know that I watched this, I'm sure I'll get a perfect in my report about composting. Thanks for the great information!

  39. There's something about this video that reminds me of an SNL parody commercial. Good information, though, definitely.

  40. Michael Mantion: people have been composting their waste for thousands of years. It is safe as long as you leave plenty of time to de-compost. But of course somebody invented a way to make money out of this too: by tunneling our waste to somewhere else and than trying to make water out of it. What a waste of resources, but hey that is the modern, smart, "sustainable development" way of doing things. 

  41. I am one of those old style gardeners who can taste the earth
    and tell what "it" needs (LOL)
    #Haikufromme  to Mother nature
    Compost; cornerstone; SHE IS!!!!
    to "H E A L T H "
    Keep it simple

  42. Does anyone have tips on how to manage a compost pile someone else has started?
    My elderly grandmother has an enormous compost pile made from food scraps and garden waste, and I'm now looking to manage her gardens as she ages. As far as I'm aware all of the materials in the pile are all fine to compost, but the pile is far too large to be turned regularly. Instead, she simply lets it settle and takes compost from the core of the pile through a little pathway she's dug. It seems to be heating up fine due to the size of the pile – we're Australian and get plenty of sun, but I wonder about the balance of brown vs green material in the pile. It seems to be breaking down okay, does that mean it's fine to use on the garden? Or should I look more carefully into what gets added to the pile? Any advice is much appreciated.

  43. Great video. Can you give me advice on how to get rid of fruit flies in the compost pile. I have a compost tumbler and I noticed that a lot of tiny flies come out when I open it. Is there anything that's natural I can use to kill them off?

  44. I have rabbits,their litterboxes contain; wood stove pellets,rabbit poop&pee,and hay. Is that a mixture of browns and greens?

  45. can anyone tell me if you can compost hummus dip, im the only one in the house who eats it and never finish it before it goes bad. I dont wanna wasit it by just throwing it out, but all i can find online is about humus soil, not the food.

  46. we grow corn, tomatoes, beans, peppers and such and I was wondering, normally we till them into the soil, but I want to add some to our compost bin when we start. Would that be beneficial or would we be better off tilling them in?

  47. PET was found to break down over time and leach into the beverage when the bottles were reused. The toxin DEHA also appeared in the water sample from reused water bottles. DEHA has been shown to cause liver problems, possible reproductive difficulties, and is suspected to cause cancer in humans.
    All plastic ocmposters contain these chemicals. Wooden composters are the way to go. Even the Joraform has PET insulation inside. Heating these plastic releases accelerated leeching of these harmful toxins.

  48. Thanks, the video is simple, informative and helpful. Also – I love your store, has been visiting it on and off for years now!

  49. I feel like I put too many 1/2 holes in my bin I made for compost. Haven't put anything in it yet. Is it possible to put too many holes in your diy compost bin?

  50. Now I’m considering this and I hope more people consider it, too! It would save so much waste and environmental concerns!!

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