Materials Needed to Start Composting

Now that you have decided that you want to compost, there is a list of items that you will need to get started. Most of these items are available in your own yard and require a small amount of planning ahead of time.

After you pick a location for your compost bin or pile (ensure it is in an easily accessible location) you are going to need approximately four inches of leaves as a base. If you are able to chip the leaves prior it will make things progress and breakdown faster but it is not a requirement. The quantity of leaves you will need to make a four-inch base will vary depending on the size of the bin you have chosen.

Your next layer should be about one inch of high-quality soil. If you cannot find this in your own garden a small bag purchased from your local nursery will work fine.

Then start layering the food for the microbes to eat. There are two categories of food you are going to need brown (yard waste) and green (food scraps or other organic waste). A common ratio is two parts brown for every part of green.

You are going to need a spade or heavy-duty pitch fork to turn or rotate the compost at least once per week. If there is a dry-spell you will need a means of adding water (a hose) to keep the pile moist.

With such simple materials and start-up instructions, anyone can start their own compost pile in under a day. If you choose to not use a bin, consider buying some wire mesh to contain the pile, it can be wrapped around the base of the pile in a circular shape. The compost can be ready anywhere from two months up to one year.