How to Make Compost the Easy Way


This is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com
with another exciting episode for you. Today we’re going to do a really good episode. This
one is the easiest way to make compost ever. Now I must admit, I am a neophyte composter.
While I am a pretty good gardener, and do it fairly well, I’ve never taken the time
to really dive in to getting the compost pile going. I’ve taken pallet piles and different
compost bins, and it never seems to work for me — I pile the stuff on and I just doesn’t
happen. So what I’ve learned is that the easiest way to do it is with a special composter,
which is what we’re going to see in a moment, but more importantly than the composter you’re
using are the ingredients which are going to make your compost. I was over at my brother’s
house the other day and I was really saddened to see he’s just throwing out his vegetable
and fruit scraps in the garbage, so it goes away in the landfill and in my opinion, composting
is not just for tree huggers and gardeners, it should be for everybody, to conserve the
worlds resources. If you don’t personally garden, you should compost yourself and give
your compost to a gardener, because I’m sure you probably know at least one of them. I
know I’ll take your compost if it’s good high quality stuff! But first key to a successful
compost pile is the right ingredients. You need a percentage of carbon to nitrogen, and
that percentage needs to be correct or your compost pile is not going to work as efficiently
as it should. Now you could look it up and get all the ratios and you could get a headache
thinking ‘Oh I’ve got to use exactly this much and this much’, but you know what? I
like to keep it easy, because if it’s too hard, you guys aren’t going to do it. So the
very simple plan here is that I use the waste scraps from my kitchen, and I’ve got a nice
bucket in the kitchen. It’s a nice three gallon bucket here and it’s actually full to the
brim and this is what I would call the nitrogen waste products. So we’ve got things like — well
paper towels, which are actually a carbon — we’ve got dryer lint here, so don’t forget
your dryer lint, we’ve got a lot of vegetable pulp, I do a lot of juicing regularly and
we’ve got a lot of carrot pulp and I just go through juicing some peaches of this tree.
I made strawberry peach juice. That stuff was insane. Anyway, now I’ve got all of this
pulp that I generated and all my food waste from leaves and what not, this is going to
go in the compost pile. Now if I just piled this in the compost pile, it’s not really
going to work because it’s just going to be too much nitrogenous waste product. Now, if
you don’t have any carbon waste to add to it, the one thing you could do with this is
to actually just get a worm bin. That’s not going to be covered in this episode, but a
worm bin or a worm box is very simple to have, you could have it in your apartment in New
York City, under your sink. Keep it in the garage, or outside if it’s not getting too
hot or too cold. The worms will actually eat your garbage or food to make worm castings
which, in my opinion, are in some ways more beneficial than just making standard compost.
Nonetheless, beside this nitrogenous waste, you need a carbon source. You need to have
a balance. Now I’m not really going to get in to of the balance but what I will tell
you is that for every bucket of nitrogen, you want to get at least an equal sized bucket,
or maybe even and then some, of carbon. My carbon sources today are some leaves — you
can see I have some dried leaves in this bucket — and in addition, for people who might not
have leaves, depending on where you live and what time of year it is, I always encourage
you to save the leaves from the summer time for the winter time. You can put them in a
big garbage can and save those leaves. Many people are actually getting rid of them, but
leaves can be a scarce commodity at some points. If you don’t have leaves, not to worry, you
can use other carbon sources. So what I have here is some shredded newspaper and actually
some shredded bags, the brown paper bags and also there is some computer paper in here,
some white computer paper. It’s not the best to be shredding up computer paper because
the computer paper has the toner which is a carbon, also with probably some plasticizers
as well. The message here is I like to use newspaper with soy ink, that’s the best to
use as a carbon source. If you do use something else, do the best you can. If you don’t have
any other carbon source then use printer paper and actually, a thing to do with your junk
mail as long as it is not glossy pages is to shred it up and put it in your compost
pile. That being said, instead of paper, I would prefer to use leaves or even woodchips
or sawdust from 100% wood, not from chipboard or ply-wood as they have glues which aren’t
good to add to your compost pile. So when you think nitrogen, think greens, so we have
some greens in here, and when you think carbons, think browns, think leaves, think trees, think
sawdust, and the products that come from them like the paper towels here. In addition, on
thing that you should add to your compost when you’re starting out is, grab some compost
from your garden. This is good finished compost and this is active compost so when we add
it to our compost pile it’s going to get the ball rolling and get some of those beneficial
microbes that are going to help break down the pile faster. I have an established compost
bin so I don’t need to add any this time but I wanted to mention it to you guys because
it is very important. The other thing I like to add to my compost bin every single time
that I add some compost is this stuff here. This is called the azomite or rock dust and
what this stuff does is it adds trace minerals into the compost pile. What I’ve found is
that the rock dust literally supercharges your compost pile. The microbes go nuts for
the rock dust, the trace minerals in there and your whole process goes faster. The side
benefit is that when your compost is done, it is pre-inoculated with the trace minerals
in there so it is going to feed your plants as well. So we’re just going to go ahead and
dump some of that in there now. Next let me show you guys the compost bin I’ve been using,
because this is the one that I’ve found to be fool proof and works very easily every
single time. As you can see I have three compost bins here in the yard. The first one is just
a static pile. It has a rock on top because the hinges broke. So you can look in there
and see, basically, I’ve added leaves and nitrogenous waste from the food clippings
and it’s really not breaking down. I’m not one to get in there and turn my compost and
keep it watered and all this stuff. I’ve got other more important things to do, so I’m
going to ration out the stuff in here into the tumbling composters. That’s the kind I
recommend for you guys to get because they are the best. It’s very simple and very easy.
I’ve been very successful with it, unlike with the static box like this. So let’s go
next door and take a look at these two compost tumblers. Here are my two compost tumblers.
This is a lifetime compost tumbler and I have a video of me building this one and comparing
it to this one which is a basically a 55 gallon barrel composter. It’s kind of cool because
it’s made out of a barrel and you can get these barrels for cheap. Firstly what I’ve
found after using these two guys is that I really prefer the lifetime composter for a
few reasons. Number one is it’s a lot more heavy-duty and sturdy. It has nice metal framing
here and nice thick plastic. It also has latches to unclip it which is very simple and now
you can open it up and it is ready to fill. Oh man! I can feel the heat coming off of
that, it’s really cool. So this is ready to fill, you just dump the stuff in here and
give it a spin and it just does its thing. It’s really simple, it doesn’t take any time
out of your day, you don’t have to get in here and shovel it or spin it around, and
all you have to do is spin it. Let me tell you, when it gets full, it get kind of heavy,
but it’s good exercise. On this guy, the reason why I don’t like this guy so much is because
the lid is kind of a pain in the ass to take off, you’ve got to spin this thing off. Then
you’ve got to mess with it and you just want to be able to do it and not screw around.
I got it off and now I’ve got to put it back on. I think a better design if you’ve got
a barrel is to put it the longways and cut a hole in it for the door and put hinges in
it. The main steps for making compost the easy way is to use a compost tumbler. I like
this lifetime one until I find one that’s better. I like the ones that open longways
and have a nice door and also the steel construction is very durable actually. Once you’ve got
that you have to start adding your materials and the ratios are the most important thing.
So we’re going to start adding the materials. Here’s all the food waste, dump that in there.
Next is the carbons, all the paper shreds, check it out, next is all the leaves that
I raked up, dump that in there and next is some tree collards, so don’t forget that can
go in your compost too. All you’ve got to do with this bad boy is lock it down, very
simple, very easy, and spin. This will give you a workout and this is why I don’t go to
the gym, better to get exercise in nature. Now that I’ve spun it around a bit, open it
up and make sure it’s well mixed. Check it out! It’s nice and well mixed. I can feel
the heat off this. Maybe a cold winter’s night you could snuggle up in your compost bin,
it would be nice and warm! You could get a compost thermometer, and I might get one here
just for fun, but I know this is totally and active pile that’s been working really good.
Now, the third tip I want to recommend for you guys is once you get one compost bin like
this dialled in and it’s nearly full, get a second one. Once this is full and working,
you’re just going to leave this alone, and then get your second one and start filling
it and get that going and once that’s full this one is going to be done. So get two bins
and keep rotating back and forth between them to make a continuous, endless supply of compost
to feed both you and your garden and it’s feeding you indirectly because the compost
you make at home is the number one fertiliser to add nutrients back into your soil. Hopefully
you guys enjoyed this episode, learning more about my tumbling composter and how it’s the
easiest composter to use in the world once you get your ratios right. Once again, my
name is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com , I want to encourage everybody to go out
and compost today.

100 thoughts on “How to Make Compost the Easy Way

  1. What do I do with compost? Does it go on top of the ground around the plants, or do I mix it into the dirt around the plants with a rake? How do I use compost? I don't understand how the plants benefit from having compost either, or how the plants take in the nutrients from compost, how does that work? What I don't want is for my compost to wash away in the rain.

  2. Funny, I live in Miami Florida and the people in the neighborhood do not seem to like natural looking yards, certainly not leaves.  To each his own, ehh.  We have a lot of bamboo and the dried leaves make great mulch.  Nice video.

  3. I do not buy stuff for my garden, except dirt at this time.  I really do not like plastic, but if it works for you, this is good.  It would be better if it was wood.

  4. Hi. thanks for your video. please accept my opinion as just that, my opinion. I don't eat anything off of plastic or drink anything out of plastic, for obvious reasons such as major toxicity. I don't use bleached coffee filters either. nor dryer sheets of toxic chemicals. also, compost bins made out of plastic, leach plastic into the compost. if you do not choose to build a bed of compost, on the ground in your garden, then you could at least make a tumble been out of, let's say galvanized steel, rather than plastic. if you place your compost directly in your garden, on the ground, it is easy for worms, to come and go, and it is easy to turn the compost by raking it and shoveling it. why not eliminate all plastic, if you truly wish to garden organically? be blessed.

  5. Thank you for sharing this! I just got my new 28-gal. composter today in the mail and I am ready to start composting to better benefit my garden and myself! This was super helpful in getting my composter started!

  6. Dryer lint would have plastic fibres in it. I would not use it. Also the home made tumbler doesn't need to be on a frame. You want the can on its side, just lay it on the ground. Roll on ground to tumble. Simple.

  7. Love all your videos John, we are binging and planning our garden. Thank you for all the effort and information you put into your videos. Love Love Love it all!!

  8. What a fun enthusiastic man. Such a cutie pie. I know he said he is half Chinese but I am curious about the other half. Whatever it is, his parents did good!!!

  9. Your barrel type composter would be easier to use if you started with a barrel that has a hoop clamp allowing quick removal of the lid.

  10. Screws off lid

    " When your dealin with compost you just wanna be able to do it and not screw around. " xDDD

  11. Great videos! I just subscribed to your channel and I know this is an older video, but I have a question. Fresh grass clippings are considered "green" or nitrogen for composting, but if I leave my clippings out in the sun, they dry out and turn brown within a few days. For the purposes of composting, do they become "brown" or useful for the carbon element of this?

  12. Thanks John for your brilliant videos. One question please if I may. Can i add ash from burning office papers into the compost bin?

  13. Compost is not complicated and doesn't need fancy ratios of this to that nor the need to waste money on foolish tumblers or bins. Put the scraps in a pile and simply have some patience as it takes time to break down.

  14. I use my garden as an outhouse. My wife hates it. Ill try this for a month. Hopefully this works just as good as traditional methods. I hate having to crap in my garden but its the only way I can be sure that my vegetables are organic.

  15. Hi John. Love your videos! For carbon, I started adding empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls. There is no print on them and they are made of standard cardboard. This also cuts down on waste as people usually just throw them away. I save them until I have a good many to line it down and then I put the veggy waste (after I take out the seeds) on top of the empty toilet paper rolls. Just an idea.

  16. I want to take up gardening. So I decided to research more…beginners information quest if you will. *Making the best soil
    *Compost info
    *What are ph and all that.
    *what is better..compost or dirt?
    *how long give or take does all that make compost.

  17. I got a new composter, John !!! It's one of those plastic deals, but, hopefully it works great. And NOW that I know what you taught in only 12 minutes, I only have to worry about the construction of the tumbler composter itself. Thanks! , and , ~ Cheers

  18. I like this video just for the fact that he makes the process fun and positive. Way more upside to compost than just throwing fertilizer on your plants and walking off. Just the idea of saving money should be enough, but the added element of "going green" adds to the benefits. Your garden will thank you and your garbage bill will go way down– plus, we're helping out the environment.

  19. My compost is not heating up much (72 F). I thought it was because of not having enough browns, so I added a bunch of shredded paper and cardboard AND got some of the equine pine pellet bedding material – still no go as far as temperature increase. It is moist (I had a lot of kitchen waste in it since we use a lot of fruits and vegetables) – so once I added all my shredded dry materials, I manually broke down any clumps to help incorporate the browns into the moist clumps. And it’s in a tumbler which I rotate at least every couple of days. What else can I do? I have made compost in this tumbler that was useable (last year), so it will happen eventually, but I want to see it get HOT! – just to see it working!! Lol. Please help. Thanks in advance.

  20. how long does it take from beginning to end? (putting the compost in the composter to having active compost soil you can use)

  21. Can you just throw into compost whole cherry tomatoes that seem to be getting old. I'm wondering because of the inside moisture of the tomato. Thanks

  22. Hey my Freand do you get roashes in that composter ?? I made one and had a big Roshe in it ..it freak me out😁

  23. I ordered the Lifetime tumbler and azomite because of this great, informative video and i appreciate your cheerful comments – thank you for sharing!

  24. When I was growing up in the late 70s, we had a fairly large yard… LOL too small for a riding mower, but big enough to take me an hour to mow with a walk behind. Anyway, my dad had a compost pile he made. Very simple. First, pick up the dog crap from our 4 dogs, throw it in the compost pile. Second, mow the yard and dump the clippings on top. Add miscellaneous veggie waste during the week… even egg shells and coffee grains. At the time, I thought it was disgusting. Then, my dad had me turn the pile twice a year. Holy crap! The soil that it turned out was amazing!

  25. Thank you so much! I found your channel from seeing you on jake's channel :). Very excited to learn from you ! Can't wait to get a compost tumbler !

  26. Man you sure do make composting interesting. Love the way you explain things. Thank you for a very good video. Enjoyed your video. You sure are one Happy Chappy.

  27. Here's a question. I have a compost bis and no matter what I did, it would never get above 60 degrees, yet everything composted. No worms were detected, but bugs where there. (+ roaches) I live in northwest Arizona. I also added compost starter several times including homemade and expensive stuff. Any advice, please.

  28. Please boycott this Tuber for blocking the back video button.

    Its a way to dirty marketing trick to force you to remain on his video. This just shows he himself does not think he has good YT vids and is resorting to tricks.

    Youve got to many subscriptions anyway … just unsubscribe to keep other YTers from playing these and other tricks.

    Peace.

  29. hi john, i really enjoyed this video and learnt so much, with the life time tumbler do you need to add water as well?

  30. I absolutely LOVE YOU. You dont dick around. You get to the point. You talk about what I want to hear. AND you are the voice of experience. LOVE YOUR STUFF!!!

  31. What about the leftovers after I clean my fish after a fishing trip. Is that good for a compost pile?

  32. Question? My son decided to dump the cat litter box on my copost pile is this gonna kill my compost pile?

  33. Don't use eucalyptus leaves in Australia, they contain eucalptic acid, add straw for carbon, plus adding mushrooms creates a mycology network to speed up breakdown.

  34. I hav just started composting my kitchen waste. I’m only using vegetable scraps and egg shells. Recently I saw many kinds of different worms in my compost pile. Is this ok?

  35. I hide my compost in shady dark area, add veggie scraps , fruits, all type of worms, used diapers, plastic, soda cans and wine bottles but the latter is taking ages to compost. maybe not a good idea to add bottles. I toss motor oil, break oil. some metal to get rust going and give iron to the compost. since I travel a lot my compost dry a lot, so I routed the septic system to directly flood the compost with a high tech timer twice a week.. it made a big mess there the smell is atrocious but all for mother nature, now it is a bit acidic in the compost which look too soupy, an old timer with thick fingers that exhibit 6 packs in each finger said ¨if it ain´t slimy soup it ain't gooood¨ with heavy nasal accent. He advised me to flood the compost with my septic waste 3 times a weak instead of twice. I bought a thermometer and test the temp, it is 65 to 70 c , 160 f, one time a puppy dog fell in it and was de composed in 3 days.
    I share my veggies and fruits with friends and neighbors they all love my tomato and leafy green garden produce. I am planing to apply to be organically certified soon wish me luck.

  36. cheap easy compost bin:
    1) go to home depot or craigslist, get a big plastic trash can for $10-15
    2) drill holes all around the trash can and lid
    3) get a shovel, take lid off and turn everything in a compost bin a couple times a week

    those tumblers are hundreds of $$, way too expensive for me.

  37. Yea yea yea. We need details like:
    The number on a compost / garden moisture meter . They range from $13 to 35 dollars . A wrung out sponge description isn't good enough

    Why should we be satisfied with heating to 135° F in the center only in a cubic yard size pile. Why only the center . Why not at the bottom of a cubic yard pile . Little oxygen down there? . Why not at the edge of the pile ,? On top or on the sides. Bacterial action DC doesn't exist except in the center of the pile . I ain't buying it. The same ole' same ole' explanation that dont add up

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