How to Make Compost | DIY Composting



DIY Composting

We hate love to break it to you – compositing isn't just for farms! This gardening technique has become a very popular practice in both urban and rural settings. To top it all off, it is one of the most simple, cost effective, eco-friendly contributions we can give back to mother nature.

If you're anything like us, you're all about reducing costs, recycling and reusing materials. A DIY compost pile is so easy, and we hope this article provides some useful tidbits to get your composting pile started:


What is compost, exactly?

DIY Composting

Glad you asked! Compost is decayed organic material used as plant fertilizer. Also known as ‘Gardener's Gold' or ‘Black Gold!' The act of compositing transforms waste, or recycles waste, into nutrient-rich soil.

How does composting work?


Bacteria is what drives the compost train. They break down materials and create carbon dioxide (CO2) and heat. The temperature of the pile rises as they consume the compost materials. Compost piles can get up to 100 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit as it brews!

Critters such as worms, slugs and insects also digest the decomposing matter, pooping out finished compost as they munch their way through. Their secretions improve compost's texture, binding small particles into larger crumbly bits.

(See more about composting at Live Science)

What can be composted?

DIY Composting

Lucky for you, the list seems endless! Here is a list of some compostable items you may have around the house:


Can't get enough? Here's a list of 81 items you can compost:

1. Dryer lint

2. “Dust bunnies”

3. The insides of a vacuum bag (just empty the bag into the compost bin)

4. The contents of your dustpan (just use discretion)

5. Coffee grounds

6. Coffee filters

7. Tea bags/loose leaf tea

8. Soy/rice/almond/etc milk

9. Nut shells (but not walnut, which may be toxic to plants)

10. Pumpkin/sunflower/sesame seeds (chop them to ensure they won’t grow)

11. Avocado pits (chop them up so they won’t sprout)

12. Pickles

13. Stale tortilla chips/potato chips

14. Stale crackers

15. Crumbs (bread or other baked goods)

16. Old breakfast cereal

17. Bran (wheat or oat, etc)

18. Seaweed/nori/kelp

19. Tofu/tempeh

20. Frozen fruits and vegetables

21. Expired jam or jelly

22. Egg shells

23. Old, moldy “soy dairy” and other dairy substitutes

24. Stale Halloween candy and old nutrition/protein bars

25. Popcorn kernels (post-popping, the ones that didn’t make it)

26. Old herbs and spices

27. Cooked rice

28. Cooked pasta

29. Oatmeal

30. Peanut shells

31. Booze (beer and wine)

32. Wine corks

33. Egg cartons (not Styrofoam)

34. Toothpicks

35. Q-tips (not the plastic ones)

36. Bamboo Skewers

37. Matches

38. Sawdust

39. Pencil shavings

40. Fireplace ash (fully extinguished and cooled)

41. Burlap sacks

42. Cotton or wool clothes, cut into strips

43. Paper towels

44. Paper napkins

45. Paper table cloths

46. Paper plates (non wax- or plastic-coated)

47. Crepe paper streamers

48. Holiday wreaths

49. Balloons (latex only)

50. Raffia fibers (wrapping or decoration)

51. Excelsior (wood wool)

52. Old potpourri

53. Dried flowers

54. Fresh flowers

55. Dead houseplants (or their dropped leaves)

56. Human hair (from a home haircut or saved from the barber shop)

57. Toenail clippings

58. Trimmings from an electric razor

59. Pet hair

60. Domestic bird and bunny droppings

61. Feathers

62. Fish food

63. Aquatic plants (from aquariums)

64. Dog food

65. Rawhide dog chews

66. Ratty old rope

67. The dead flies on the windowsill

68. Pizza boxes and cereal boxes (shredded first)

69. Toilet paper and paper towel rolls (shredded first)

70. Paper muffin/cupcake cups

71. Cellophane bags (real cellophane, not regular clear plastic)

72. Kleenex (including used)

73. Condoms (latex only)

74. Old loofahs (real, not synthetic)

75. Cotton balls

76. Tampon applicators (cardboard, not plastic) and tampons (including used)

77. Newspaper

78. Junk mail

79. Old business cards (not the glossy ones)

80. Old masking tape

81. White glue/plain paste

To read more, click here!

DIY Composting

How do you get started DIY composting?

Here are some pretty nifty tips to have the most successful compost pile:

  1. Start on bare earth. This allows organisms from the ground (like worms and bacteria) to access the soil and begin doing their part of the process.
  2. Shred your leaves. Shredding results in premium mulch that is much easier to transport. If you are having an unsuccessful heap, you can easily remedy the problem by shredding, which allows for greater aeration of the pile.
  3. Add a nitrogen supplement. Manure is one of the best nitrogen sources for your pile, but you an also use hay and kitchen scraps. Layering your nitrogen sources will produce the best results.
  4. Turn your heap every three to four days. Some may recommend turning your pile every three weeks, but turning it every few days will guarantee composting success. Because your leaves have been shredded, they are much lighter and fluffier, making them easy to handle.
  5. Consider a compost bin or tumbler. These are not necessary, but convenient for small yards where a more compact pile would be more preferable. Tips 1-4 still apply when using a bin or tumbler.

(See full article from Compact Power Equipment Rental)

Check out these related articles:

The Art of Seed Saving
Conquer the Frontier Like An American Pioneer
Best Trades To Know When The SHTF

Once You Have Your Compost, It's Time to Garden!

Click here to get Survival Seeds Playing Cards for free*! These cards tell you what, when, and how to grow your plants. Don't miss out on this limited time offer: *$2.95 s&h not included*

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  1. Barbara Kelly

    June 9, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Since my age doesn’t do for bugging out. Don’t think I could last that long. So what I’m doing is canning and dehydrating our food in preps. Nothing of this has been mentioned. Also we do have our water covered. And I do have chickens and a garden a fairly good size garden. I’m looking at any other alternatives

  2. Lyn

    June 9, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    When I was a teenager, my father made a compost in our backyard from autumn leaves, grass clippings, hay, horse manure, lime, and kitchen garbage. He layered but left it alone all Winter without turning it. It created a create beginning for our Spring/summer garden. Why did it work for him without the turning I keep reading is necessary?

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