by Daisy

I’ve had the dorkiest idea.

You’ve probably heard about Knit-Alongs, where people get together online and knit the same project together in small steps over a set period of time?

Well, not everybody knits.  Even if you do knit, maybe you’ve set down your needles for the summer.

I thought of another usually solitary activity that we could do together, step by step, sharing our progress, tribulations, and finally our results.

How about . . .

A Compost-Along!

Are those crickets?

All right, I know decomposing waste may not be everyone’s idea of a fun summertime activity, but if you’re a garden dork like me, or you’ve been meaning to start composting for a while and you need a little push and some support to get going, this could be . . . almost a little bit fun (???).  Rewarding?  Educational?  A way to help keep you out of trouble?

Here’s the set up:

  • If you want to join in, declare your intentions in the comments section of this post.
  • Then, every week I’ll post a new composting “assignment” for us to complete over the course of that week.
  • As we compost together, report on your progress, either in the comments section or, if you have a blog, you can link in comments to a post where you discuss your compost issues.
  • In 8 weeks, we’ll all show off our compost.

I just said “show off our compost.”

To spice things up, not that we’ll need it with all that exciting decomposition going on, we’ll have a couple of giveaways along the way. I think a composting book would be lovely, and, if we can stand ourselves, maybe a composting thermometer.

Katie bar the door.

Are you up to the challenge?

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 147 comments… read them below or add one }

Jayne May 28, 2012 at 3:14 am

Sure! I’ll compost with you! I already have a plastic trash can that my husband drilled holes in that I’ve used in the past. My question is: What do you put in first? I don’t have any compost left over from last year.

Marianne May 28, 2012 at 4:24 am

I’m have participated in a knit along, made a beautiful shawl. Now it’s summer and my garden is planted. I’d love to be part of your compost along!!! So count me in! I really could use ideas, I’m on a fixed income, spent wayyyy to much putting my garden in this year. I cannot afford one of the compost bins at this time, is there a way to make something that will contain and that the animals can’t get to it? (live in a rural area, deer, coyotes, lot’s of neighborhood dogs) and of course the mice and such.

Maria May 28, 2012 at 5:39 am

I love to compost, I have to heaps going now, one that’s almost ready and the other Im throwing things into. Love to be part of you compost-along! Any new ideas to get my compost all nice and brown before fall gets here would be great.

Marie James May 28, 2012 at 6:02 am

Great idea Deanna–count us in! We’re just building a wood pallet enclosure with mesh cover to keep the dogs, chickens, and magpies out of our kitchen compost pile. Marianne, that might be a solution for you, though it won’t keep mice out. We get free pallets at our local farm supply store.

Marie @ Rural Living Today

The Redeemed Gardener May 28, 2012 at 6:23 am

This is a cool idea! As you know, I have posted many free ideas for compost bins on my blog. I would love to be involved with this.

Daisy May 28, 2012 at 6:43 am

Marianne–Marie’s solution is a good one. You can also just compost in a plain old pile. Throwing leaves or grass clippings over it discourages some critters, and a tarp can help keep it protected as well as keep in moisture. We’ll talk about different types of compost arrangements and different problems we’ve been having until we figure something out that works–hopefully!

Beth Wall May 28, 2012 at 6:50 am

Hey!!! I want to do the Great and FUN!!! “Compost-Along”!! You are so funny!! Your blog is the only blog I have ever subscribe to!!! and I really enjoy it. I live on 20 acres in Jemison, AL, with chickens (Silkies: Hansel, Gretel, and 3 as of yet beautiful chicks, and Miss Piggy, a dominicker(sp)), a horse(Tenn.Walker,Big Red), 2 cows(Boo Boo & Bessie), 4 cats(SpookyLou, and kittens, Bagera, Simba and Fatty) and a my MOST PRECIOUS Boston Terrier, Lacey!! I have a compost bin already!! All it is is a 2.5′ high peice of metal held in a round circle by some T-posts!! but it needs to be emptied…it is only abou 2 yrs old!!! it is some good dirt though!!!! SOOOOOO>>>>I am ready girl!!!!

Daisy May 28, 2012 at 7:01 am

Beth–Then hold on to your hat! This is gonna be . . . oh, well, you know, what it is. I want a cow. I want to pat their soft noses.

cadizkyman May 28, 2012 at 7:01 am

I,ve found a place to enjoy composting… I enjoy gardening and need more compost every year.
Let me hop onboard and learn some fresh idea’s…Thank you for letting me join

Ellen May 28, 2012 at 7:10 am

Sadly, I just moved from Cali to Texas and hubby woudn’t let me bring my wonderful compost with me. I would love to compost along with ya’ll but I dont have a home yet. (we are planning on doing the whole homesteading thing). I’m living at my daughters house and she doesn’t even want a garden! Whats up with that! So I can’t compost here. We are in the process of finding our mew homestead so there is hope around the corner. I would still love to follow along to see how everyones beautiful soil turns out though. It will help give me the inspiration and strength to persevere till I have my own pile once again.

Patsy May 28, 2012 at 7:25 am

count me in….have a compost bin and I have dead brown leaves in an old rubbermaid trashcan that has a great big hole in the bottom of it. Not sure if that’s enough air for it.

Teresa May 28, 2012 at 7:28 am

I dont knitt so this sounds like much more fun. Need a compost as the one I had was not working. Not sure where to put it though as I do not want to attrack more field mice and rattle snakes to my house.

whit May 28, 2012 at 7:48 am

Sign me up! This is such an awesome idea. Just a little suggestion…we should be known as composting geeks. In the grand scheme of things, geeks are much classier and smarter than dorks. 🙂
Happy composting everyone!

Bess May 28, 2012 at 8:01 am

Count me in! I was planning on building a compost bin this week; this will make sure I actually do so. And “The Complete Compost Gardening Guide” ( is a brilliant book, if you were planning on giving one away.

gmorgan May 28, 2012 at 8:11 am

This sounds interesting, I’m in.
BTW, I have two composters that by all practical standards are too small, but the neighbors would complain if they could see a pile, so I am making do with what I can. I don’t stir my composters; I just let it rot (and there is not enough room in the boxes to “stir” anything). This spring I pulled out 50 gallons of nicely done compost from last years box that had worked all winter. Now to get enough rain to soak in so I can start planting. I’m in Zone 2B to 3. Even with global warming, we don’t plant until June 1. Last frost can be as late as June 10.

Marianne May 28, 2012 at 8:19 am

I’m wondering about the trash can idea… my neighbors wouldn’t complain about that I am sure.. is there a site or does someone have suggestions on how to utilize the trash can for compost??

Karen S May 28, 2012 at 9:15 am

Count me in. I’ve always got several piles going and of course my scrap bucket in the kitchen.

Daisy May 28, 2012 at 9:31 am

Bess–That’s exactly the one! Yay!

Daisy May 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

Marianne–We’ll go through the options, that’s a good one. I drill holes in it all around, top, bottom, and sides. If you have a way to lock the lid on (some have lids that clamp or pop on, sometimes bungee cords can be made to work) you can lay it on its side and roll it to turn the compost.

Anne-Marie May 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

As a long time reader and first time commenter, I’m all in!
I can’t wait for the great discussion to come.
Maybe some of you live in highly regulated (think heavy duty HOA rules) suburbia like me and have some good ideas to share.

Daisy May 28, 2012 at 10:31 am

Anne-Marie–Welcome! You raise an excellent point. We must discuss that.

Mary@Back to the Basics! May 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

This sounds like a GREAT idea! I just used up the last of my compost this morning so it’s perfect timing.

Shari May 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I’m in! We already compost, but I was thinking of starting a new pile, so why not!

Michelle May 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I have been composting about a year but have no idea what I’m doing. We have rabbit manure we put in a pile, then add scraps and grass clippings to it. My son turns it now and then but I’m not sure if that’s enough. So would love to learn along with all of you!

Melanie May 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I just might have to try this. My 5yr old son has been on me to start composting…

Jane May 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I’ll join in! I compost, but I really have no clue what I am doing, so I would love some tips!

Terry May 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I am a compost virgin. Just got a container two weeks ago and have already filled it. Now I need to figure out what to do until the first batch is ready. Would love the group to guide me on my way.

Vanda Chittenden May 29, 2012 at 2:14 am

I am in. Let’s start. Jay.

KimH May 29, 2012 at 3:42 am

Sure! I compost daily… Im going to have to find another bin for my fresh clippings so I can get my other bin to mature. Great idea!

Elizabeth May 29, 2012 at 4:01 am

I’ve had a compost bin but it doesn’t work, probably because we don’t work at making it work. So I’d love to compost-along and see if I can get it going properly or maybe start a new pile somewhere else.

PatK May 29, 2012 at 4:24 am

We bought our first compost bin a couple of weeks ago. I can use all the help I can get.

Allyson M May 29, 2012 at 4:36 am

I just LOVE this idea! You know you love gardening when you’re excited to do composting with others! We just moved and have not even set up our compost yet, so this gives me a great incentive to get it going!! Hoorah!! 🙂

Jen C. May 29, 2012 at 4:38 am

I’m in. I love compost!

Rosalyn May 29, 2012 at 4:41 am

I’m in!! I just started my very first compost pile this spring, so not only do I totally think this sounds fun, but I know it will be a great learning experience for me!

Heather G. May 29, 2012 at 5:04 am

I’ve been wanting to start composting for a while but am basically clueless…..Lead on!!! I’m ready (I think!)!

Angela May 29, 2012 at 5:12 am

I’ll compost with you. Can’t think of a more exciting project:)
I’m always open to new ideas on composting.

Sandra Nelsen May 29, 2012 at 5:22 am

I’ll try it…..I have some leaves. Wonder what else I need? No bin or container, though……I half-heartly tried it in the past, but not certain I got any soil, just dead leaves.

Leigh May 29, 2012 at 6:14 am

I’ll compost along with you. We’ve been collecting our kitchen scraps for a couple of years, but never really knew what to do with them to actually get something useful out of them. (Guess there’s more to it than throwing them in a pile next to the barn :}) Would love to learn the right way!!

Jan Kolodge May 29, 2012 at 6:20 am

Absolutely! Just set up for composting…. I’m in.

Karen May 29, 2012 at 6:36 am

I want to learn, too!

Dee May 29, 2012 at 6:43 am

Sure! Sounds like a worthwhile thing to do.

Julie May 29, 2012 at 6:44 am

Count me in ! I constructed 2 composting apparatus last year using wire mesh. It has 1/4″ holes and I just tied it together with twine.I used some landscape cloth stakes to secure it from blowing over. It allows air flow and gets plenty of water. When it is full and ready , I just lift it up and move it to another location to start again. The best receptacle I have found. Cheap too ! I have not had any trouble with rodents or anything. I am excited about this compost along. I knit and crochet in those kind of “alongs” also. Happy to be a part of this !!

Bobbi Jo Nichols May 29, 2012 at 6:46 am

I have had a compost garbage can with holes. I need to transfer it into something else to continue to make the beautiful compost that the garden loves. So I am going to get hubby’s help in making a new one to do this with. This is just the little push I need to get this easy project done. Thanks! Hugs, Bobbi Jo

Elizabeth Turner May 29, 2012 at 6:49 am

I would love to compost more! I already have a compost bin set up, but would love to get it into my garden and to make it more of a priority so that I can make more and use more.

Andrea G May 29, 2012 at 6:56 am

Oooh, count me in. I have one of those plastic composters but it is old and cracked, so I need to start a new one. Love the idea of the wooden pallets. My husband works in the shipping/receiving department of a factory and old pallets are always available for free. I am so looking forward to this 😀

Kimer May 29, 2012 at 7:16 am

I so want to do this but we’re moving at the end of June. Can I be involved and be 4 weeks behind?

Cheryl May 29, 2012 at 7:17 am

Add me to the list. I love to compost and am always looking for new ideas. Yeah!

Maryion May 29, 2012 at 7:54 am

I’m in too!

AmyC May 29, 2012 at 8:25 am

I’m in! I have a compost pile that is about finished, but I’d like to do something less “big ugly pile” this time because we have added chickens– so I want the rest of the yard to look slightly more presentable. 🙂

Shawna May 29, 2012 at 8:33 am

I just started a small pile and this is my very first time. I can use the help…all i know is not to put in meat & dairy! I’m definately in!

Adica May 29, 2012 at 8:52 am

I shall try to compost along! My family already has a compost pile (just a pile on the ground in the area next to the vegetable garden that gets too much shade to grow much), but it could use some work. I also have a bunny who promises to do his part in making weekly contributions to the compost pile! 😀

Kevin Ayres May 29, 2012 at 8:54 am

I have 2 tumblers cooking right now and my 5 raised beds are all lasagna composted. I will be glad to be part of this decomposing project. Compost makes my plant grow so big in the high New Mexico desert and water usage is low. My tomato plants have reached over 7 feet tall and produced heavily. I have not bought any fertilizer in 12 years. It is all by compost and compost tea. Costco has the tumblers for $99. I bought 1 of theirs and got the other for $35 on Craig’s list. They call me Captain Compost at work.

Anne B May 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

Yup. Sounds good!

Amber May 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

We’ll be moving late June also. I want to follow along- I guess I’ll just be a few steps behind. I have a mesh compost bin, but we live in a desert and are on serious water restrictions this year, so I knew I wouldn’t be gardening before I knew we would be moving. I have *some* yard scraps- not much, the yard has been dead for two years now- worst drought in years in these parts, some cow manure, and mostly kitchen scraps. I don’t turn it, almost never watered it, and there is citrus in there (isn’t that a no-no?) so I don’t think it is worth moving, even if my husband would do it. I don’t want to start over again, but dont’ really see that I have another choice. I guess at least maybe this time, if I follow along, it’ll be good compost!

Amber May 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

Also, Deanna, are you on Pinterest? That’s where I put all the ideas for next gardening adventure.

Edie May 29, 2012 at 10:15 am

Count me in. We’re newbies at composting and eager for ideas and suggestions for turning what currently looks like a mess of garbage into food for the soil in our raised bed garden.

Kris May 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

I started a compost pile near the garden last year but need all the help I can get to make it produce. It’s my “first” and not doing too great. To think I’d be excited by a compost-a-long!

Kathy May 29, 2012 at 10:25 am

I’m in! I’ll even put it on my blog! That out to be a surprise for my readers…

Cat von Hassel-Davies May 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

Oh yes I will definitely be joining in. LOL you know CAL can be confused with crochet along LOLOL


Daisy May 29, 2012 at 11:13 am

Cat–Oh, you’re right, that’s too true! Won’t they be surprised . . .

Amy May 29, 2012 at 11:52 am

I really need to get my tumbler cleaned out and the composting re-started. Some of my problem is that our last shredder died (made nice confetti) and our new one makes shreds – great mulch, not so great in the tumbler. Any suggestions?

Ryan Michelle May 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I’m in!

I was so excited to see this email today – I recently moved to a new home and started planting our gardens over the past few weeks, so this is perfect timing! For the past few years, I have wanted to start a composting heap but just hadn’t had the means. At last…the day is here!

Christine Decarolis May 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I have a garbage bin I converted into a “composter” that I’ve been working with the past 12 years or so. I live in a condo with limited garden space so I had to be creative. However, it’s kinda fizzled out so I’d love to join this CAL to get things ramped up again!

Deanna May 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm

this will be excellent incentive!

Lindsay May 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm

We have a pretty big pile going. We just built several raised beds from cinder blocks, I’m hoping to dump some of the mostly-done stuff in the holes and create little mini planters for bug-deterrent plants – like garlic and onions 🙂 Hopefully this little idea will keep me on track!

Tasha May 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm

This is a great idea. I’ve just started a compost but really wanted someone to kinda show me the ropes! This will be perfect!!!

Nik May 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Sounds like fun – OK garden dork too!

Diane May 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I’m in! I’ve been dissatisfied with our compost situation for a while now.

Siren May 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I’ve been wanting to start a compost pile/bin… but have been intimidated.
I started two raised cinder-block garden beds, and would like to be able to augment the garden with my own compost! Looking forward to learning!

CJ May 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I’ve been composting for years and had a beautiful large 3 bin compost years ago when I had acreage and livestock to fuel it Today my little bin is just an old black plastic wheelbarrow type container. It works fine for my little 3000 sqft yard most of the time but during planting season it’s just not enough. That’s when I end up having to buy commercial compost and gardening soil for my tiny veggie garden. I prefer not to do that but, as I said, I have a small yard and really no place to have a bigger bin. Still, I’m very happy to add the daily organic kitchen waste and the small amount of garden clippings. And, since I’ve just used up all my compost to plant my most recent endeavor of the year, I’ll be composting right alone with the rest of you’alls.

Kristina May 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Count me in! I have never composted before but I’m in a new house and have started a garden so I’m excited to start composting!

Tricia May 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Sounds great. My children built me 2 raised beds for veg, for Mothers Day. Need some help on how to make a better compost pile. count me in.

Dawn May 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I would love to join in! I am starting a compost pile now and would love to use my own compost for my garden! Thanks

Dara May 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I’m in! I’ve been trying and failing! Excited for some help and support!

Nancy May 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Count me in! We just bought a composter and got it in place. Ready to start.

gloryk May 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I’d like to be involved too. I have a wire compost bin, black one and just got a turning one, but never seem to get a finished product although it sure has reduced what goes to the landfill.

Mara May 30, 2012 at 12:12 am

I’m in! I have a compost bin that I got for free that doesn’t allow for turning at all. Stupid, really. I think I just want to have a pile. 🙂

Mediaflo May 30, 2012 at 2:45 am

This should be a fun laning experience!

rbel May 30, 2012 at 3:23 am

I’m in.

Jayne May 30, 2012 at 4:19 am

would love to! we have a compost pile where we just keep throwing stuff on and are not sure quite what to do with it, so a Compost-Along will help s refine our pile!

Sandra May 30, 2012 at 4:48 am

Hi Deanne, I’m a newcomer to your site and have recently purchased your great book Little House in the Suburbs. My 11 year old daughter, Isabel and I have just started to go a bit more green. She recently acquired 3 chickens and loves ‘clucking’ over them every day as well as planting seed and gardening in general. I’ve joined her i the latter and we recently started a compost pile. I’d love to join in the compost along. Keep us posted. Thanks, Sandra and Izzy.

Suzette May 30, 2012 at 5:00 am

I am so doing this!! A beautiful Amaryllis appeared in my compost pile. Red, my favorite color! I have no idea where it came from, but I transplanted it into a beautiful container!!

Terry May 30, 2012 at 5:12 am

I just filled my first bin, a barrel shape on its side, that rolls. I fear I have more green than brown and need to know whether it will actually compost and if so whether it will take forever. Meanwhile, do I need a second container so the first can cook? COUNT ME IN ON THIS PROJECT

Terry May 30, 2012 at 5:18 am

I saw on television that you can use a large plastic trash can with a snap on lid. Drill holes all over it with a fairly large drill bit and can actually tumble it when the lid is snapped on. Has anyone tried that? Wonder if the lid will pop off while tumbling??? Would be a fairly inexpensive answer if it works.

Daisy May 30, 2012 at 5:22 am

Terry–Can you dump the contents out of the current bin and use those pretty much as your green and layer them in with some more browns? Then you wouldn’t have to have a second bin unless you wanted to and you could layer your bin from the ground up, so to speak.

Daisy May 30, 2012 at 5:25 am

Terry–That works just fine. If the lid is a good fit, it shouldn’t go anywhere. If it does you can always rig it up with some bungee cords or something like that.

Julie May 30, 2012 at 5:25 am

I tried the trash can idea and you are correct , the lid popped off. It was a major hassle and waste of a good trash can. We ultimately used it for our recycling. Try my idea using the mesh “fencing” you can find in the home centers for chicken coops and such. Just roll out however much you need (depending on how big you want it to be). Make a cylinder out of it and tie with twine and there you go. You can stake it down with tent stakes or landscape stakes. It gets good air flow and water. When it is full , just pull it up and move it to start your next batch of compost. Hope this helps

Daisy May 30, 2012 at 5:32 am

Julie–I really like the wire bins like you described. Great idea. I like the ability to make it as big as you want it, too. The “optimum” size for good hot composting, which is what we’re going to try, is 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall (1 m x 1.5 m), but since some people can’t do that in small yards or suburban or urban areas, we’ll work with whatever you have to do to keep the peace with the neighbors, etc. Do you think if you could have gotten the lid to stay on somehow that the compost would have done ok in the trash can?

Melissa May 30, 2012 at 6:09 am

Hey ya’ll! This winter we created a compost out of pallets, chicken wire and zip ties. We added our leaves and kitchen scraps (no meat or dairy of course). Turned it a few times. Not quit hot enough to cook it. We are looking forward to the summer heat to break it down. This is our first compost pile and I am excited about the compost a long! We also built a raised bed garden with broken concrete pieces that is doing pretty well. We plan on another raised bed garden for next year for the very back of our property and the compost will come in very handy. Gonna be a very big bed!

Gavi May 30, 2012 at 6:45 am

Great timing!
I will be emptying the last of my compost today..

Melissa Rixey May 30, 2012 at 7:30 am

Sounds great! I already compost, but am always willing to make more!

Sondra May 30, 2012 at 7:32 am

I’ll join in on this adventure! I started a pile last year but the location let everything run down hill. 🙁 I started it again this year but just haven’t really had the incentive to do much with it until now. Thanks!! I probably won’t be able to show off my compost at the end (my internet doesn’t like to load pics) but I’ll tell you all about it. 🙂

Claudia May 30, 2012 at 7:59 am

I would love to compost along with you! I have a wire bin that works pretty well and one of those tumblers that doesn’t work well. I usually save it for mixing up my soil mixture for the garden beds. I would be very interested in learning new tips on composting. 🙂

Deanne Likkel May 30, 2012 at 8:14 am

Oh, I am definitely in! When you first put out the call I hesitated. I wasn’t sure that I could get up to speed, as we just relocated from our rural property in Snohomish, Washington to a lovely, small community in North Central Idaho. I wasn’t sure that I could pull everything together (along with unpacking and getting ourselves settled) to produce a decent compost pile in a mere 8 weeks, but it dawned on me that whether I was ready or not, compostable items still had to be dealt with. I’ve done both compost piles on the ground and a compost bin, but I still have allot to learn and this seems like a good place to start!

Monica C May 30, 2012 at 8:14 am

Count me in! I just got a composter from Tractor Supply Company for Mother’s Day! My older boy (4 years) loves tumbling it.

jayne May 30, 2012 at 8:46 am

I am “all in”!!!!!
I hope that also means I am successfully subscribed. 🙂

Jess May 30, 2012 at 11:26 am

Ooohh, I want in! I have been trying to compost in a large re-purposed garbage can but I often forget about it for long stretches of time and I really have no idea what I’m doing. It will be so nice to be reminded about my compost and to learn from others.

BrownThumbMama May 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Oooh, oooh! I’m in! This is just the kind of summer project I can get into.

Nancy May 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm

My mind is whirling! I have a question right off the bat….I have twigs in the bottom of my Home Depot. plastic composter. I think I need LEAVES…I am saving peelings, coffee grounds, etc….but my question is…where do I get leaves NOW. Everything is green. I can get grass clippings…but leaves????

Daisy May 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Nancy–In terms of brown, think straw (not hay, that’s a green), shredded paper, brown paper garbage bags, cardboard, sawdust, finely shredded wood chips. Check Craigslist for spoiled straw. Anybody else have some suggestions?

Terry May 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Great – I will give that a try for container #2. THANKS!

Terry May 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Can you use brown paper bags from the grocery store that have colored print on them? I know you can’t use colored glossy printed pieces from the newspaper – but how about colored ink on the regular pages of the paper – like the comics or the auto ads? Is that ink ok?

Daisy May 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Terry–That kind is fine.

Jill May 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I’ll join in! I’ve been composting for almost a year but have no idea what I’m doing or if it’s even working. I got one of those free black bins from the city and took a short class. My main concern is that my gardener keeps dumping all the grass clippings from the lawn in the bin. I was thinking that since I don’t have enough kitchen scraps to balance out all the grass that I need to take some of the grass out, which I have been doing every week seeing as I can’t tell the gardener to put less clipping in because he’s here while I’m at work and I don’t speak spanish anyway! LOL!

Kevin Ayres May 31, 2012 at 7:49 am

For brown use any paper. I use paper towels, and shredded paper from my shredder, as long as it is not glossy paper like the Sears or Walmart ad. The ink used to print on most things now a days is made from soy. Remember to share a beer and a coke (not diet) with your compost every couple of weeks. The smaller the stuff you put in the faster it comes out. I found a small garden chopper-shredder used for $30 and it makes life around the compost pile a lot easier.

Skye Ingram May 31, 2012 at 8:16 am

I’ll be joining in!

jayne May 31, 2012 at 10:47 am

personally, I’d stay away from the soy inks…..there is little to like about the soy out there today…so I am trying to keep a wide berth.

Shannon May 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm

This sounds like just the help I need, I am a compost ‘newbie’! Can’t wait to get started.

Terry June 1, 2012 at 6:38 am

Beer and soda! Never would have thought of that. How about real, not plastic, corks? Not that I have tons of them, but will they compost?

Oh – how about stale chips? I am thinking not because they were probably cooked in oil.

Thanks Kevin for the ideas! And, all the rest of you. This compost-a-long is GREAT!

Kevin Ayres June 1, 2012 at 7:44 am

I use all my old chips and bread. Old dry bones the dogs have left in the yard are hit with the sledge hammer and added to the lasagna beds. I never tried wine corks. I reuse them by gluing them in a picture frame without the glass to use a bulletin boards. I also use citrus because our New Mexico soil is so alkaline and we do anything to increase the acids. I also bring home bags of pine needles when we go to the mountains. I have friends who use pool acid on their evergreens, I will add apple cider vinegar mixed in water. The beer and soda I posted earlier is for the bacteria to feast on. I have been composting the last 48 years. Long before it was cool.

Kim June 1, 2012 at 11:14 am

We just started a community garden in my back yard, a compost a long will be a fun challenge for us.

Terry June 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Kevin – so glad you are composting along and willing to help us new to this process. THANKS AGAIN.


Terry June 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm

For cardboard can we use things like cake mix boxes?

Nancy June 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm

I am really soaking in all the tips and wisdom from the Experienced Ones! Just found a little shredder/chipper on Craigslist…only 4o bucks, new in the box. I think it will meet out needs quite well and can’t wait to get started with our project.
Will set it up tomorrow and hope that everything dries out soon so we can begin.

Jan Kolodge June 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Can’t get grass cuttings easily. What else can I use?

Daisy June 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Jan Kolodge–In terms of “greens” you can use kitchen waste, manures, coffee grounds, tea leaves, hay, prunings/clippings from garden plants. Anyone else have favorite “greens”?

Kaloa Nichols June 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I’d love to try. I live in Wyoming and just got my garden planted yesterday. Have wanted to learn to compost for years but didn’t know where to start.

Jan Kolodge June 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm


Sarah June 2, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Sounds great! I obviously am doing something wrong with composting, so these tips should help a lot.

Nicole @ Simple Homemade June 3, 2012 at 9:14 pm

count me in! 🙂

Andrea H June 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm

is it too late to join? I just started a compost and would like to learn more.

Daisy June 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Andrea H–Nope, come on along! Welcome!

Jenelle Avent June 6, 2012 at 9:43 am

I have tried to compost before but what I get is a pile of garbage. I am late signing up but I will get caught up. Thank you!

Terry June 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I added a little to my compost bin today and it smells really stinky. Any hints? More brown???? I know I have a lot more green than brown.

Daisy June 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Terry–If you’re having trouble finding brown this season, you might try cardboard. If you’re wondering how that goes, one way is to soak it in water in a wheelbarrow or big bucket and when it’s all soft, tear it into small pieces and mix it into your pile.

Terry June 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Thank you Daisy. I will give that a try. Will it eventually compost if it isn’t balanced?

I sooo appreciate all your help.

Daisy June 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Terry–Eventually, but in addition to being smelly and slimy, it can get too hot, encouraging the wrong type of bacteria.

Shawna June 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I started my compost like a month ago because we bought a composter that turns..ive added grass clippings newspaper fruit peels egg shells coffee grounds tea bags chicken poo and shavings from their bedding and other assorted materials… for awhile i saw tons of little black flie type thing everytime i opened it to gove it a quick drink or add something…Now i see nothing but some black stuff along w newspaper, shavings and assorted items… i have a similar mix in an open top large white plastic barrel… can someone please tell me where i am going wrong?

Shawna June 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm

I apologize for typos and such i only have my phone to follow along and sometimes it and i do not see eye-to-eye!

Marianne June 7, 2012 at 4:51 am

okay.. call me dumb here.. I have my trash can ready with the holes, it’s up on supports so it has good drainage. Do I put anything special in the can to start the compost? Or just start adding the news paper, coffee grounds and so on? I am really a total newbie to the compost thing, any and ALL help will be greatly appreciated!

Kevin Ayres June 7, 2012 at 8:09 am

Terry, it stinks because it is too wet. Add shredded paper or some straw. Let it dry up some. Sometimes I leave grass clipping wet in a black garbage bag, tied closed and in the sun. After a couple of weeks it has fermented (rotted). Makes a great booster to your pile. Boy it can stink until mixed in.
Shawna, the black stuff is compost, the scraps of newspaper and straw are still waiting to decompose.
Marianne, If you have a piece of PVC pipe you can drill it full of holes and keep it centered in your pile. Add your ingredients around the pipe. This will allow oxygen to get to the center of the pile. You can move the pipe in circles to keep the center looser too. Start with carbon, straw, newspaper, etc. Next add your coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels and greens. When we say “browns” we mean Carbons. When we say “greens” we mean nitrogen’s. I hope this helps.

Anyone in central New Mexico there will be a composting class June 30 at the Loma Colorado Library in Rio Rancho from 2 to 4 pm. There is no admission fee. It is hosted by the Bernalillo County Master Composters.

Jan Kolodge June 7, 2012 at 8:40 am

When do you add water to your new compost?
This is my first time making compost. I have a compost barrel with holes in the sides and a lid.
Should I fill the barrel with “stuff” or half fill it?

Daisy June 7, 2012 at 8:57 am

Jan Kolodge–The best way is to wet it AS you layer it in, making sure that everything is moist throughout the pile. It usually takes more watering than I think it will–every time I give it a stir I find dry spots. A fine mist is the best way because a heavy stream tends to run off without getting everything moist. Then, when you turn your pile, have a hose ready to add more if it seems dry, especially for uncovered piles that tend to dry out faster.
I think for a barrel to be able to mix when you roll it, up to 2/3 full would allow things to move and shift.

Daisy June 7, 2012 at 9:02 am

Marianne–Good question, not dumb at all! There’s no crucial order, particularly, for compost that’s going to be mixed regularly. With a cold pile that is going to be basically left alone for a year, it’s a good idea to start with twigs, something to allow for aeration, but in this case, just toss it in. Nothing super goopy right on the bottom, but otherwise just go for it. Some browns, then some greens, etc., watering with a spray or a shower mist as you put things in.

meg June 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Talk about perfect timing! I just received your book a couple of days ago, and the chapter on composting has *almost* given me the courage [that can’t be the right word for discussing composting] to give it a try. Count me in!

Marla B. June 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I made me one too & I need to check my bottom layer…it should be ready to use. I am getting excited about real trash-to-treasure!

Terry June 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Shawna – I am new to this as well, but kinda think the black stuff is the materials becoming compost. Let’s hope so.

Shawna June 13, 2012 at 8:24 am

Yea i figured the black was gold but with all the bedding chunks &a other items not broken down i wasnt 100% positive im doing things right

Leah June 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I’d love to join but I’m kinda lazy. I have an enclosure that I just throw stuff in and didn’t realize I needed to add water or keep it covered. I spend most of my time keeping my beagle out of it.

Kaitlin Jenkins June 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I’ve got two bins going now, but I have a lot to learn. I want to be able to figure out when my compost is ‘done’ enough to be adding to my plants, I want to get the full benefit to my garden plants this year.

Laurie June 20, 2012 at 6:49 am

I’m late to this party but will get up & running this weekend! I started a compost pile years ago but abandoned it because I couldn’t effectively turn it. I really need a bin or some way to turn it. My “pile” just became a heap of leaves and stalks.

Megan B June 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I’m a little late, but still joining in!

Terry July 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm

My compost is filled with larvae of some sort. They seem to be loving my compost as it is teaming with them, but they are turning it into soup. I added some leaves today, thanks to our drought, but don’t know if this will be salvageable???

Serena August 4, 2012 at 9:41 am

I am way late, but want to follow along anyway.

Nancy August 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

A bear demolished my compost bin. :{
Have to figure out a way to salvage it and go forward. :}

Jayne August 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I ‘discovered’ a trick for keeping the compost bucket smelling sweet in the kitchen counter….toss in a fresh sprig of basil! i did it accidentally, but glad it happened, now I do it on purpose, no more sour face when I have to add to the compost.

Jane August 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I don’t understand compost piles so will be reading and doing everything you tell me. This is fun!!

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