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How to get started with composting

  • 06/26/2018
  • By Megan Sterenchock
How to get started with composting

So you want to compost, but don’t think you have the space to do it? Don’t let that stop you! When I started composting I didn’t even have a yard and I made it work. After doing a little bit of research, I realized it was much simpler than I’d thought. If you’re thinking about composting, read on to learn more about it and how I made it work!


Here are my two composting bins, side-by-side!

What is composting?

Simply put, composting is organic matter that is decomposed. It’s the recycling of organic matter to use for a rich soil often used in gardens. Gardners call it “Black Gold.” Rather than throwing away your scraps, you can compost them to help with your gardening!

You can remove up to 50% of your household waste by composting, but what exactly can you compost? Typically people compost food scraps, yard waste, and more.

For some great guidelines to composting, check out this blog post.

To start, all you needed is a dark container. I learned quickly that I didn’t need to spend $100 on a compost-specific bin. So, I went to the hardware store and purchased a dark colored 5-gallon bucket with a lid. I drilled some holes in the top of the lid and in the bottom of the container to allow air flow and drainage, and my compost bucket was done! Then, all I needed to do to get started was add a little bit of soil, some paper, and food scraps!

This got me started off but I have since upgraded to a 15-gallon tumble compost bin. I know I said you don’t have to spend $100 on this, and I didn’t! A local grocery store had a great deal… I love sales! Now, I use both the bin I purchased and the little bucket I made to start out.

Getting started with composting

Now that you have your container(s), getting start is simple. There are two main components to start composting: green and brown materials. Green materials provide nitrogen and they come from food scraps like vegetable trimmings and coffee grounds (you can even throw in the coffee filter here because it’s paper and will break down).

On the other hand, the browns provide carbon and you get this from twigs, leaves, and newspaper. The hardest part is getting the right balance, but that comes with time. When you add green material to your compost bin, be sure that you also add in brown material to maintain a balance between the two. A good rule of thumb to follow is three parts “brown” and one part “green” material.

So gather some browns and greens and make a layer of each to get your composting going. I made about two inch layers of each within the bucket I had started off with. Depending on how much moisture is in the bucket, you may also need to add a bit of water—just enough to make it damp. After that, you just let the composting being! The only maintenance it really needs is to be turned or stirred at least once a week. You can buy composting bins that make it easy to do just that, or get up close and personal with it and mix it up by hand.

Advice from Lewith and Freeman’s Real Estate Expert

Check your municipality and HOA rules and bylaws before you start composting. They may have specific instructions for you to follow. If you build a compost fence/area you may need to take it down when it comes time to sell your property, so investing in a portable compost bin saves you that trouble. Plus, you can bring it with you if you move! Look for local composting centers, too. Luzerne County, Dallas, and Dupont have great composting programs that your area may be included in.

If you are thinking about composting I highly suggest doing it! It’s a great way to dispose of food scrapes and reduce waste.


How to Create a Compost Pile

By Megan Sterenchock, 06/26/2018 Megan is a recent homebuyer who is sharing her experience with us! Interested in guest blogging with us? Send an email to curbappeal [at] lewith-freeman [dot] com!

Megan Sterenchock

Megan is a recent homebuyer who is sharing her experience with us! Interested in guest blogging with us? Send an email to curbappeal [at] lewith-freeman [dot] com!

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