Have you ever wondered how you can do your part to keep waste out of the landfill? Composting is an excellent method for decreasing your waste stream, but it is also good for the environment in other ways. Plus, adding in the best compost for garden is sure to have you growing lush, delicious vegetables and flowers for the growing season. Why buy vegetables or flowers when you can grow them yourself with your own compost.
Perhaps you’re a pro gardener or one of many new gardeners, or maybe you just have a house plant. Either way, all of these need fertilizer, and properly composted material is an excellent way to give your plants the organic fertilizers and essential nutrients they need for strong plant roots. Strong nourished plants help prevent plant diseases. Not only do you save money, but you also have complete control of what you end up putting on your plants in your vegetable bed and flower gardens. Try making the best compost for garden right in your own backyard.
- Composting For Beginners
- Different Types Of Composting Methods
- Best Compost For Vegetable Garden
- DIY Composting For Your Garden
- Best Indoor Composter
- Stainless Steel Compost Bin
- Best Outdoor Composter
- Best Large Compost Bin For Garden
- Best Compost Tumbler For Your Garden
- Single Chamber Compost Tumbler For Your Garden
- Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler For Your Garden
- Best Worm Composter
- DIY Pallet Compost Bin For Your Garden
- Make Sure You Select a Safe Pallet
- Compost Bin Chicken Wire
- How Much Does A Yard Of Compost Weigh
- Best Compost For Garden Summary
Composting is a natural process turning organic matter into natural fertilizer that can then be used to enrich soil and plants for healthy plant growth. Microbes (bacteria and fungus) digest the organic matter, causing it to change form into a dark, rich, nutrient-enriched material that looks like dark soil. Often a good visual sign of the best soil quality. However, it is often mixed with nutrient-deficient dirt to make the soil more pH-friendly for plants. This material helps grow bountiful gardens or fertilizes plants, either alone or in this mixture. The best compost for gardens can be made right at home or if you prefer to purchase it is easy to find.
Proper composting also requires oxygen and moisture, which we’ll cover more below. And, as you get into composting, you may decide to get into the weeds and learn things like compost pH. However, for our purposes, let’s just start with the basics.
Is Composting Good For The Environment
The good news is, composting is great for the environment and economy in several ways. Here are a few examples:
- Composting recycles common household waste, such as coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, and other organic materials or garden waste. Rather than throwing it in the garbage and having it end up in the landfill, it becomes a new material used for fertilizing plants through the composting process.
- Composting reduces methane. Without the proper environment to break down in, organic waste in landfills rots and creates methane. Organic materials in landfills are the third-leading human-caused methane generator.
- Compost can hold water 5-20x its weight. This means dirt mixed with compost can absorb and filter water far better than dirt alone, so it’s good for plants and the environment. Since compost filters water better than dirt alone, it helps it reach the layers in the ground that replenish springs, lakes, and streams.
- Compost used on fields, gardens, and yards helps plants grow lusher and more immense. It keeps the land from being dry, barren, and eventually eroding. Further, using organic compost reduces the use of chemical fertilizers. These fertilizers can be swept into the water system, making its way into creeks, lakes, and eventually the ocean. Chemicals in our water systems can create harmful algae blooms and other degradations.
- Using compost saves money in many ways. First, it reduces disposal costs. And if farmers use it, they don’t have to spend money on costly fertilizers. They also save money on watering costs since it makes their ground more efficient, holding and filtering water better than without it.
Are Orange Peels Good For Compost
Yes, orange peels are good for compost. In fact, just about any citrus based fruit peels are good for compost. Orange peels are good for compost due to the nitrogen content in the orange peels. Being a good peel for compost would be the same for citrus fruits like pineapple, lemon, and lime.
Are Pine Needles Good For Compost
Although pine needles do indeed break down, many gardeners avoid composting pine needles. This is partly because of the length of time it takes for a pine needle to compost overall. The short answer is Yes and No. Yes, pine needles can safely be composted. Are pine needles good for compost? No.
Items to Leave Out of Compost And Your Garden
If you decide to do your own composting, you should leave out a few things. Especially non compostable materials. These are important things to consider. Some of these items include:
- Animal manure waste, like cat or dog feces, or chicken manure. It attracts unwanted pests and can contain parasites and other diseases.
- Yard trimmings like lawn clippings, grass clippings, plant materials, or other yard waste that contain chemical pesticides. If you’ve used chemicals on your lawn, it can also kill beneficial composting microbes. However, lawn clippings, grass clippings, plant materials, and leaves are fine if you have an organic lawn.
- Coal ash can contain iron and sulfur in large amounts to harm plants.
- Please recycle glass, metals, or plastics, do not compost.
- Meat and egg products should not be part of the compost pile. While it is possible to compost these, it can lead to rotten smells and attract pests if not done correctly. It is best to leave composting these materials to commercial facilities that can do it correctly and ensure everything is sanitary.
- Wood chips will take a while to compost. Up to a couple of years. You can compost wood chips but you will need to be patient. If you add wood chips, small amounts are best in homemade compost.
There are several different composting methods. The good news is even if you have limited space, there are multiple ways to compost. So whether you live on a large farm or in the city, you can still take advantage of the benefits of composting. With a basic understanding of how composting works, you’ll be on your way to saving the environment in no time!
This composting relies on bacteria that thrive in oxygen-rich environments. Generally, this is the fastest composting method but takes more work. This is because oxygen-rich environments come from turning the material frequently, done through various ways, including stirring or rotating the compost bin. How you turn it depends on the type of compost bin you use, but the end result is the same: it creates more oxygen for the microbes to thrive.
In addition to turning the material frequently, you must also add water to the organic materials. When the material is moist, it helps it begin to rot. As the bacteria do their work, it creates heat. The heat will decrease as the microbes run out of oxygen and begin to die. When this happens, it signifies it’s time to turn the material to create more oxygen to keep the process going and the bacteria alive.
This composting relies on bacteria that do not thrive in oxygen-rich environments. This method is slower but also requires less work. As with aerobic composting, you must still add water. The bacteria get to work digesting the materials and creating heat, but they thrive in an environment without oxygen. More bacteria invade and keep the process going if it’s left alone. Therefore, this composting does not require turning over and, thus, less work. However, it does take almost twice as long for the process to complete, and it may have a more unpleasant odor.
This composting uses earthworms, in addition to microorganisms, to complete the composting process. The earthworms consume and digest the organic material and then excrete it. The excretion is called castings, or vermicompost.
The earthworm’s digestive system breaks down the organic matter. The castings have a high nutrient value, and it’s readily available to plants.
There are around 3600 types of earthworms, categorized as burrowing and non-burrowing. Red earthworm species are the most efficient compost-makers.
Best Compost For Vegetable Garden
While we understand the appeal of DIY composting, there are times when you may need far more compost than you can make yourself. For example, you may have a large garden or yard and need to buy compost rather than make your own.
We recommend Malibu Compost Bu’S Blend Biodynamic Compost if this is the case. A nice organic compost for vegetable garden because it has a base of organic cow manure, is non-GMO, and is free from chemicals, growth hormones, and sewer or sewage sludge. One of the best compost to buy for vegetable garden beds and flower garden beds. When you are looking to buy organic compost, this is a nice option as one of the recommended best compost for vegetable garden.
While a one-cubic-foot bag is a bit expensive, this compost is designed to be mixed in with the dirt. Creating this mixture allows better aeration and water filtration. It creates an excellent, nutrient-rich environment for your garden plants to thrive, and a little goes a long way. Malibu, in our opinion, is one of the best bagged compost for your vegetable garden.
DIY Composting For Your Garden
The alternative to buying compost is to make it yourself. Composting can be accomplished in small and large spaces using many different methods and types of compost bins. Below, we’ll share some of our favorite composting bins, as well as a build your own composting bin option.
Best Indoor Composter
As we said before, living in a small space should not limit your composting abilities. Regardless of available space, you should be able to produce as much compost as you need. Urban composting has become quite popular, and while you may not do it on a large scale, you can still help divert waste from the landfill.
If you’re looking for ways to do small space composting, try starting with this All Seasons Indoor Composter Starter Kit. This indoor composting machine is made for indoor composting and will take up little space in your home. Since organic material doesn’t compost well in cold weather, this is also an excellent option if you live in freezing temperatures. Perhaps you live in an area with high temperatures and prefer to be indoors. You can make the best compost potting soil for garden indoors or outdoors. It’s up to you.
Bokashi Compost Starter
It comes with a bag of bokashi compost starter, which is a probiotic that helps the soil “ferment.” Each time you add organic material to the bucket, you sprinkle a little of the bokashi. The bokashi helps keep odor at bay and breaks the material down faster.
While the amount of material you’ll divert from the waste stream won’t be huge, you will be producing a product that garden and house plants will love. Make the best compost for garden right at home. The material inside breaks down into a liquid that can be accessed through the spigot at the bottom. It can then be diluted with water and used on plants.
The airtight lid also helps keep odors at bay, although some people note it’s difficult to get off. However, this bucket is an excellent option for under your sink or small indoor areas.
Stainless Steel Compost Bin
We’d also like to recommend the iTouchless Stainless Steel Compost Bin as an indoor option for holding a few days’ worth of decaying, often brown materials before transporting them to a larger outdoor bin. Waiting a few days is a common practice, but it can begin to smell if you don’t use the right bin.
The iTouchless has a 1.6-gallon capacity and sits easily on your countertop or under your sink. The feature that differentiates it from a coffee can is an AbsorbX Odor Filter that absorbs odors and keeps your house from smelling. It also has a tight seal that helps with odors better than cheaper options.
It’s made of stainless steel, a popular finish in today’s decorating trends. It’s easy to dump once full and will ensure no scrap is left behind.
Best Outdoor Composter
If you are doing outdoor composting and working with lots of materials, you’ll want a composter with a large capacity. Several options can make much more compost, although they can take longer than smaller ones.
Best Large Compost Bin For Garden
To process higher quantities of organic materials, we love this Large Garden Compost Bin. At 95 gallons, it’s the largest option on our list of recommendations. This compost bin is also made of BPA-free recycled plastic to ensure toxins don’t leach into your compost heap, and it comes with a 2-year warranty.
It is relatively inexpensive in comparison to some alternatives and is easy to assemble and add materials. This composting bin is also lightweight, making it easy to maneuver around to get it where you want it. The small openings allow ventilation and aeration on all sides but are too small for rodents to get in. The top door also has a place for a padlock to keep the raccoons and other large pests out.
Older reviews complained that you had to cut the bottom door yourself, but the product has since been revised. It now comes with a bottom door to lift and remove compost as the materials break down.
Best Compost Tumbler For Your Garden
There are lots of compost tumbler options on the market. Some have one chamber, while others have two. They also vary in size and features, but the purpose of a tumbling composter is to help aerate your compost. Since aeration means it keeps oxygen in the materials, it’s an excellent method for aerobic composting.
Single Chamber Compost Tumbler For Your Garden
As a single chamber tumbler, we find the Miracle-Gro Small Composter an excellent choice for the price. Miracle-Gro is a household name in gardening, and their exceptional products extend to this composter, as evidenced by the 2-year warranty it carries. Miracle-Gro is one of the most well-known and best compost for garden brands. They make a variety of soils, fertilizers, and even garden tools. The Miracle-Gro soils have varying soil structure depending on the soil amendment added to improve physical properties like water retention or good drainage. Common soil amendments are sulfur, acid (fulvic and humic acid), lime, compost, and gypsum.
It fits in small spaces at just under 28 gallons, like a deck or patio. The internal mixing bars help break up materials, resulting in a 4-6 weeks composting time. It is an excellent urban compost tumbler due to its smaller size.
Reviewers say this is an easy product to assemble. An older version was a bit less sturdy, but it seems the company has fixed that issue. The frame has a lock to keep the barrel in place for easy moving. The door is removable, which is handy for dumping finished compost.
Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler For Your Garden
Switching gears slightly, if you’re looking for a good dual-chamber tumbling composter, we recommend the FCMP Outdoor Dual Body Tumbling Composter.
The dual chambers in this model allow you to fill one side and begin composting. You then continue to throw food scraps in the second side until the first is finished composting. Swapping sides back and forth allows for uninterrupted composting.
Combined, these dual tumblers hold about 37 gallons of material, resulting in about 5 pounds of compost when finished. Truly some of the best results that can be turned into garden soil for your garden beds and flower beds.
Durable Compost Bin Construction and Materials
This bin construction is made of durable materials and sits on a frame that can be placed in a yard or garden. Easy to make the best compost for garden. The large sliding doors allow plenty of room for adding kitchen scraps and removing compost. Additionally, the doors have an indicator for “start” and “finish,” so you know which side you are finishing with and which side you are adding to.
While this isn’t the largest composter out there, the smaller size makes it easier to move if needed. It’s excellent for small-scale composting where large quantities aren’t necessary. If done correctly, the compost in this bin breaks down quickly, sometimes in as little as two weeks. Adding a compost starter helps speed the process.
If you want to try your hand at vermicomposting, many options are out there. While the Hungry Bin Worm Composter is a bit pricier than some other options, it has many features we like and make it worth the price, including a lifetime guarantee.
This bin processes almost 4.5 pounds of waste per day! Unlike aerobic composting, there is nothing to turn regularly. It takes about 2-4 months for the food waste to make it from the top of the bin to the bottom.
The tapered design forces the worms to the top because the material becomes more compact towards the bottom. As a result, you’ll want to use worms that are surface feeders, not burrowers, like red wigglers for composting.
There are no layers or trays to move around like other worm composters. The design is a continuous flow system, so there is no heavy lifting or moving things around to get the castings out. Instead, you’ll harvest the castings from the bottom without disturbing the worms on top. A bottom tray containing the castings unsnaps from the bottom.
pH Balanced Nutrients
The important nutrients in this compost are highly concentrated but pH balanced. A good pH balance is vital as plants grow differently, better, or worse in high acidic soils or high alkaline soils.
Finally, an additional feature we like is this composter has wheels, making it easy to move. It can get quite heavy and nearly impossible to move when a composter is entirely at capacity. However, sometimes when the weather gets too hot in the summer or cold in the winter, it is necessary to move these, and the wheels make it a snap to do so.
DIY Pallet Compost Bin For Your Garden
Finally, if you want to save money and build your composter, several options include making one out of pallets.
First, you will need to track down some pallets. It will take four pallets of equal size, or you can cut them down if necessary. You can usually find pallets at any warehouse that receives goods shipments, including most big box stores. You can ask them if they have any pallets or even check places like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
Make Sure You Select a Safe Pallet
When selecting pallets, make sure they have the proper pallet stamp, ensuring they are safe to use. For example, look for pallets with the stamp IPPC or EPAL logo, in addition to the letters HT. These letters means the wood has been heat-treated and, therefore, won’t leach toxic materials into your compost. Also, if you see the letters MB, avoid these pallets. This treatment is a toxic pesticide called methyl bromide.
In addition to pallets, you will need plate brackets for holding the corners together, a drill and drill bit, screws, and a saw if you’ll be cutting down any of the pallets.
First, position three pallets for the walls and the back. Then, stand them up, lean them against each other, and put brackets at each corner’s top and bottom. You may need to insert a screw into each initially to hold them until you get the brackets on. This gives you three sides, the back, and two side walls.
For the front, you’ll need to create a gate. First, determine which way you want your gate to swing, then use hinges to attach to the appropriate side panel. You can leave the pallet as one large panel, or you may wish to cut it in two so you have a top and bottom gate. This makes throwing materials in your compost pile or compost heap easier without the existing pile falling out when you open the gate.
Compost Bin Chicken Wire
Many people will also finish the composter by tacking chicken wire around the entire thing to help keep stray materials in and larger animals out. However, it’s not necessary.
This composter can work similarly to the Hungry Bin Worm Composter. The air flows through the holes into the pile, and you can also manually stir your pile or compost heap with a pitchfork. Or, if you have a little more time, you can leave it to sit and let it anaerobically compost, then pull the finished compost from the bottom of the pile.
How Much Does A Yard Of Compost Weigh
So, how much does a yard of compost weigh? A yard of compost typically weighs between 1,000 pounds (half a ton) and 1,500 pounds. Moisture content of the compost will contribute to the overall weight of the compost and how dense the material is. Dry compost will inevitably weigh less than wet compost.
Best Compost For Garden Summary
Whether you decide to buy compost or create your own, one thing is sure: compost is environmentally friendly, diverts waste from landfills, is suitable for the water supply, and plants love it. There are several composting methods, including aerobic, anaerobic, and vermicomposting, and all have pros and cons. After reading this article, you should have a good idea of what will work for your purposes.
The best part about composting is you can do it no matter the size of your space. There are composting methods that require little space, and composting can happen right on your countertop or under your sink. Also, feel free to place in small outdoor areas and even on porches. Still, others can take up the entire corner of a garden! The bottom line is there is a way for virtually everyone to get in on the composting craze. Once you try it, what will you recommend as the best compost for garden.
So whether you buy your compost, make your composting bin, or buy a tumbler or worm composter, with a few weeks and a little patience, you’ll have some good compost and black gold soil in no time. Mix the soil with a bit of sand for healthy soil, sandy soil, and your plants will thank you. Plus, you’ll be doing your little part to put organic materials and organic matter to good use while helping to protect the environment.