Organic Composting

Organic Composting

Gardening is a rewarding and fulfilling hobby that not only beautifies your surroundings but also allows you to connect with nature on a deeper level. As a new gardener, you might be eager to start growing your plants and vegetables, but before you do, let's talk about one of the fundamental practices for successful and sustainable gardening: organic composting.

What is Organic Composting?

Composting is a natural process that converts organic materials, such as kitchen scraps and yard waste, into nutrient-rich humus, commonly known as compost. Organic composting is a sustainable method that mimics nature's cycle of decomposition. By turning waste into valuable fertilizer, gardeners can enrich their soil, promote healthier plant growth, and reduce their carbon footprint.

Why Compost Organically?

Organic composting offers numerous benefits over conventional composting methods that involve the use of synthetic additives or chemicals. Here are some compelling reasons why you should opt for organic composting:

  1. Environmentally friendly: Organic composting reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, decreasing methane emissions and supporting a circular economy.

  2. Soil enrichment: Compost enhances soil structure, increases its water-holding capacity, and improves nutrient availability for plants.

  3. Chemical-free produce: Organic compost ensures that your plants grow free from harmful chemicals, promoting healthier and more nutritious crops.

Getting Started with Organic Composting

  1. Select a Compost Bin: The first step in organic composting is choosing the right compost bin. Bins come in various sizes and styles, including stationary, tumbling, and worm bins. Consider your space, the volume of waste you'll generate, and how much time you can dedicate to composting.

  2. Collect Compostable Materials: To create nutrient-rich compost, gather a balanced mix of "green" and "brown" materials. Green materials are nitrogen-rich, such as kitchen scraps (fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells), while brown materials are carbon-rich, like leaves, straw, and newspaper. Avoid adding meat, dairy, and pet waste to your compost, as they may attract pests or create foul odors.

  3. Layering: For efficient composting, layer the green and brown materials alternately in your compost bin. Aim for a 2:1 ratio of brown to green materials. This helps maintain the right carbon-to-nitrogen balance for faster decomposition.

  4. Aerate the Compost: Regularly turn or aerate the compost to provide oxygen to the microorganisms responsible for breaking down the organic matter. A well-aerated compost pile decomposes faster and prevents the formation of unpleasant odors.

  5. Watering: Keep your compost moist, but not waterlogged. A damp sponge is a good indicator of the ideal moisture level. Add water when necessary, especially during dry spells, to maintain the composting process.

Troubleshooting Common Composting Issues

Composting may seem simple, but beginners often encounter common challenges. Let's address some troubleshooting tips to help you overcome these issues:

  1. Smelly Compost: Foul odors indicate an imbalance in the compost pile. To fix this, add more brown materials to absorb excess moisture and dilute the strong smell. Avoid adding meat, dairy, or greasy food scraps, as these can lead to unpleasant odors.

  2. Slow Decomposition: If your compost is taking longer to decompose, the likely cause is inadequate aeration. Turn the compost regularly to add oxygen and accelerate the decomposition process.

  3. Pests in Compost: Unwanted visitors like flies or rodents can be attracted to certain types of kitchen waste. Bury food scraps under a layer of brown materials or use a secure compost bin to deter pests.

Utilizing Compost in Your Garden

Once your compost has fully decomposed, it's time to reap the rewards! Here are some ways to use compost in your garden:

  1. Soil Amendment: Mix compost into your garden soil to enhance its fertility and structure. Compost provides essential nutrients, improves drainage, and encourages beneficial microbial activity.

  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of compost around your plants as mulch. Mulching helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weed growth, and adds nutrients as it breaks down.

  3. Compost Tea: Create a nutrient-rich compost tea by steeping compost in water. Use this liquid fertilizer to water your plants, giving them an instant nutrient boost.


Organic composting is an essential practice for new gardeners seeking to cultivate a flourishing garden while minimizing their environmental impact. By understanding the principles of organic composting and following the steps outlined in this guide, you'll not only enrich your soil and grow healthy plants but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable planet. So, roll up your sleeves, grab a compost bin, and let nature work its magic as you embark on your composting journey! Happy gardening!