~ Serving American home cooking on the Upper West Side Since 1981 ~

Easy Steps On How To Make Your Own Compost

Making your own compost is the key element to organic gardening. It is often described a being a little bit too complex to make. In reality though all you need to do is supply the right ingredients and let nature take care of the rest.

Some benefits of making your own compost include: photo-1

  • It’s Good For The Environment- You can recycle your kitchen and garden scraps instead of throwing them out. You can even include paper waste to the mixture!
  • New Nutrients For Your Produce- You’ll have the opportunity to introduce new soil nutrients to your produce
  • Decrease Your Enviro-Footprint- Food waste is being upcycled rather than going to landfills

The Simple Way to Compost

Here are a few simple steps you can follow to get your own home compost pile started.

  1. Start your compost pile on a free land space and on a bed of straw, that way the compost can react with the air and drain more easily.
  2. Next add your compost materials in layers making sure that you alternate between wet materials and dry materials. Creating this balance allows for the compost to not clump or dry out.
  3. Next we need to add a nitrogen source, as the optimal conditions for decomposition are: Air + Water + Carbon + Nitrogen. This is why we add manure, which will activate the compost and speed up the process. Please bare in mind that a good compost heap should have more carbon, wood chips, sticks, egg shells or even coffee filters, etc than manure. A rule worth sticking to is using one third nitrogen – two thirds carbon . We don’t want a smelly compost heap after all!
  4. Finally, cover the compost with a plastic sheet to keep in the heat, moisture and make sure you keep the rain from washing it out!

Pro Tip

A good tip to keep away flies and insects is to cover any exposed fruit, so keep a bucket of grass clipping next to your compost and sprinkle it on top when you are adding fruit to the compost.

Materials You CAN Compost

Paper, tea bags, egg shells, food scraps, coffee filters & grounds, peels, vegetables, tissues, and garden waste.

All of these will degrade and add nutrients to the soil and will more than likely not attract pests.

Materials You can NOT Compost

Meat, bones, dairy, pet faeces, chemicals, plastic or citrus

While most of these will most certainly degrade, they will be attractive to pests or destructive to plants.

Final Word: Tips & Solutions:

  • Your compost is ready when you have a thick black slop that you can scoop out.
  • If your pile dries out get out your garden hose and add a bit of moisture, especially in the warmer months.
  • Give your compost plenty of air, make sure that the organisms are getting a healthy supply of oxygen.
  • To speed up the the rate of compost increase the surface area as it is easier for the organisms to break it down.
  • Compost should be used as a growing additive and not exclusively in the pot or garden bed.

We hope this inspires you to create your own compost – Please let us know how it goes!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar carolyn ferrara May 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Dear Carrie, Is there anything you don’t cook? And the preparation for the Stone Soup looks gruelling! It was very nice to see you and Bill earlier today. We lucked out and got some very inspiring, fun neighbors and we wish you the same with your new location. See you soon.


avatar Carrie Levin May 20, 2013 at 4:38 am

Hi Carolyn,
It was great seeing you. That bread was amazing! Hope I will be able to be back up before we open the new place. No no, I can’t cook a lot of things. There’s always more to cook! Have you ever made beignets? I want to put them on the menu, but I can’t find a recipe anywhere.


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