Composting Complete Guide – What To Know

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Real Men Sow

This Composting Complete Guide is as complete as it should get. Compost is a rich source of nutrients that can transform soil and give plants an extra boost. It is made from organic matter that has been decomposed, and it can be helped by bacteria, fungus, and insects. It is an inexpensive, easy, and low-maintenance gardening venture that can be made from scratch. Because it produces less waste, homemade compost is better for the environment.

Composting Complete Guide To Choosing A Compost Bin

  • What amount of space do you have?
  • How much garden waste and household garbage do you have? and;
  • How much do you have to spend?

Pick a spot in your garden that is suitable for compost heaps. First, you will need somewhere that is sunny or partially shaded. Next, you will need a place sunny or partially shaded.

Wooden Bins

These classic bins have square shapes and no lids. The open top allows air to enter the compost pile and makes it easier to turn it.

To keep rain out of your pile, cover it with tarpaulin, or an old piece carpet. The main problem is that you must leave the whole pile of compost down before you can start using it. It’s a good idea to have two bins if you have enough space. One can be used immediately and the other one can be used to add new material.

Plastic Bins

Plastic compost bins come with a lid and are cylindrical in shape. These bins have the advantage that you can continue adding waste to the top while digging compost from the bottom. Plastic bins are slower to make good compost because they are smaller and more difficult to turn. It is important to make sure the correct ratios of materials are used.


Tumblers are rotating cylindrical that rotate on a frame and can be turned to mix the compost materials. This will speed up the process and give you finished compost in a shorter time. Fill the tumbler with compost and turn the drum once a day for three months.

Once the bin is full, the composting process begins, however, you will not be able to add to it again. Tumblers can also be used as small-scale composters, but they lack the additional nutrition provided by worm or insect activity. They are also space-saving options.

Composting Complete Guide – Making Your Own 

To get the best compost, it is important to use the right mix of ingredients. The final product should have a dark brown colour and crumbly texture. It should also smell like woodland, with a slightly sweet, woodsy scent.


It is important to have roughly equal amounts of brown and green waste. This will ensure that you don’t end up with a stinky pile of sludge.

Green Materials

Rich in nitrogen, quick to rot, and have a high moisture content.

  • Annual weeds and nettles
  • Veg peelings and banana skins
  • Fruit peel and pulp
  • Coffee grounds, tea leaves, and bags
  • Cut flowers
  • Grass clippings
  • Soft garden prunings
  • Old houseplants/bedding plants
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Natural wool/cotton fibres

Brown Materials

Rich in carbon, slow to rot, and have a good, high fibre content.

  • Dry leaves
  • Shredded cardboard and paper
  • Eggboxes
  • Shredded hedge trimmings and wood chips
  • Dead plant stems
  • Animal hair
  • Straw
  • Wood ash
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Vacuum cleaner contents

Composting Complete Guide – What You Should Never Put In 

  • Meat and fish scraps
  • Dairy products
  • Bread
  • Coal ash
  • Cat litter
  • Glossy magazine-type paper
  • Weed seeds

Making Compost

Step 1: Layer of Coarse Material

To aid in drainage and air circulation, first, place a 10 cm layer of coarse material at the bottom of your container. You can use straw, twigs, or woody prunings to make this layer.

Step 2: Adding Equal Amount of Green and Brown Material

Next, layer equal amounts of green and brown material on 15 cm layers. It is important that you alternate, as it creates a good mix for composting and reduces the need for turning the compost. A sprinkling on top of each layer can be made from garden soil. This will help to activate the beneficial bacteria and fungus that are needed for the process.

Step 3: Adding Large Piles for Fast Results

Fill the whole compost bin at once to get the best results. Because it is large enough to heat everything and then decompose it, a large pile will make things go faster. It will take more time to heat the pile and make compost if you only add small amounts of material.

Adding Materials Gradually

To fill your bin slowly, you can follow this simple rule: for every green material you add, add some brown. This will help speed up composting and prevent the mixture from getting too slimy and wet.

Step 4: Cover the Compost

To keep rain out of the compost and prevent it from becoming slimy, cover it. To speed up the process, turn it over once per month. Mix the outer contents with a garden fork. You can eventually decide to stop adding ingredients to the mixture and allow it to mature. You can also use a plastic container to start using the lower layers that have been composted. When compost is dark brown, crumbly, and sweet-smelling, it’s ready for use. It is not ready if it smells still rotten.

Composting Complete Guide -Problems You Might Encounter

Too Wet or Too Dry

Too much moisture can slow down composting, while too little will make it a slimy mess. Turn it with a fork to check the moisture level. It should appear damp throughout. Add water to make it moister. In a week, check again. If the soil looks damp, cover it with a cloth and turn frequently to aerate.

Compost is not Breaking Down

You can add more green materials to your compost, such as grass clippings, if it is still too woody. To add more nitrogen, you can buy a compost activator.

Attracting Too Many Fruit Flies

Although fruit flies aren’t harmful, they can be annoying. Cover the compost bin with a cover and place any fruit or veg scraps in the ground. This will prevent them from returning to your garden.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.