What is Organic Composting?

Organic composting is a natural process that involves the decomposition of organic materials, such as food scraps, yard waste, and other biodegradable materials, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment called compost. This process is carried out by microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and worms, which break down the organic matter and transform it into a dark, crumbly substance that can be used to improve soil fertility and structure.

The Benefits of Organic Composting

There are numerous benefits to practicing organic composting. Firstly, it helps to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills. By diverting organic materials from the waste stream, composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps to mitigate climate change. Additionally, composting helps to conserve water by improving soil moisture retention and reducing the need for irrigation. It also promotes healthy plant growth by providing essential nutrients and improving soil structure, which in turn enhances root development and increases the availability of water and nutrients to plants.

How to Start Organic Composting

Starting organic composting is relatively simple and can be done by anyone, regardless of their gardening experience. The first step is to choose a suitable location for your compost pile or bin. Ideally, it should be placed in a sunny spot with good drainage. Next, gather your organic materials, which can include kitchen scraps, yard waste, leaves, and grass clippings. It is important to strike a balance between carbon-rich materials, such as dried leaves and straw, and nitrogen-rich materials, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, to ensure proper decomposition. Chop or shred larger materials to speed up the composting process.

The Composting Process

Once you have gathered your organic materials, you can start building your compost pile. Begin by layering your materials, alternating between carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials. It is important to maintain a ratio of roughly 3 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. As you add more materials, moisten them with water to ensure proper decomposition. Turning the pile regularly, about once a week, will help to aerate the compost and speed up the decomposition process. Over time, the organic materials will break down and transform into nutrient-rich compost.

Troubleshooting Common Composting Issues

While organic composting is a relatively simple process, it is not without its challenges. One common issue is a smelly compost pile, which is often caused by an imbalance of carbon and nitrogen or excessive moisture. To remedy this, add more carbon-rich materials, such as dried leaves or straw, and turn the pile to improve aeration. Another common problem is a slow composting process, which can be caused by a lack of moisture or insufficient aeration. Adding water and turning the pile more frequently can help to speed up decomposition.

Using Compost in the Garden

Once your compost is ready, it can be used in the garden to improve soil fertility and structure. Compost can be spread on top of the soil as a mulch or mixed into the soil before planting. It can also be used to make compost tea, a liquid fertilizer that can be applied to plants. Compost helps to retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds, and provide a slow-release source of nutrients for plants. It is important to note that compost should be fully decomposed before using it in the garden to avoid the risk of introducing weed seeds or pathogens.

Composting Tips and Best Practices

To ensure successful organic composting, there are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to maintain the right balance of carbon and nitrogen-rich materials. Too much nitrogen can result in a smelly compost pile, while too much carbon can slow down the decomposition process. Regularly turning the pile and adding water will help to maintain the right moisture level and promote proper decomposition. It is also important to avoid adding meat, dairy products, or oily foods to the compost pile, as they can attract pests and slow down the composting process.


Organic composting is a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to manage organic waste and improve soil fertility. By following the steps outlined above and implementing best practices, anyone can start composting at home and reap the benefits of nutrient-rich compost in their garden. So why not give organic composting a try and contribute to a greener and healthier planet?