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Easy Composting

Project Overview

Easy Composting

Composting turns kitchen scraps and garden clippings into a nutrient-rich, organic soil enhancer. Here are five simple steps to backyard composting.

5 Steps

  1. Begin with a Bin
  2. Location, location, location
  3. Feed the bin
  4. Get the right mix
  5. Let it cook
Begin with a Bin

Step 1

Begin with a Bin

Compost bins come in various shapes and sizes, from commercial black plastic types to homemade ones of wooden planks or wire mesh. No matter which type you select, keep in mind these factors: first, the bin size should be at least one cubic metre (1 x 1 x1 metres) to build up enough heat to start decomposition; and secondly, it should be ventilated to allow enough air to flow through the pile to prevent an anaerobic environment, which can cause the pile to stagnate and smell. For this quick and easy project, choose a ready-made bin available at The Home Depot. Or, check with your local municipality; many make composters available to residents.

Location, location, location

Step 2

Location, location, location

Site your composter in a sunny spot where the pile will heat up quickly (shadier locations are fine, but the compost will take longer to decompose). The bin should be convenient and accessible, making it easy to fill and turn the pile. Place the bin on bare earth to allow soil-bound microorganisms help break down the materials.

Feed the bin

Step 3

Feed the bin

Any vegetative material and many organics may be safely composted. This includes kitchen scraps, such as fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds and tea bags as well as garden wastes, including grass clippings and raked leaves. Smaller pieces decompose faster than larger ones, so chop up materials such as melon rinds before adding them to the pile.

Never compost meat, bones, fats, diseased plant material, invasive weeds or pet wastes.

Get the right mix

Step 4

Get the right mix

Add ingredients in roughly equal layers of:

1.) Nitrogen-rich materials such as vegetable scraps and yard clippings

2.) Carbon based ones, such as dried leaves, straw and shredded newspaper

3.) Soil or finished compost

The simplest way to do this is to top off a layer of kitchen scraps with dried leaves (saved from the previous autumn) and a shovel full of soil. Turn the pile every week or so to hasten decomposition, or add a compost accelerator.

Let it cook

Step 5

Let it cook

When the bin is full, continue to turn it occasionally, allowing nature to fully decompose the materials, until they take on a rich, soil-like consistency. Dig finished compost into garden beds to enrich the soil.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 2 hours

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.


  • Leaves
  • Shredded Newspaper
  • Soil or Finished Compost
  • Compost Accelerator (optional)
  • Kitchen Scraps
  • Yard Waste
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