Two years ago my husband decided he wanted to start composting. I loved the idea. The whole recycle, reuse theory is one I strongly subscribe to. So, the research commenced.
The first task on our agenda was to decide how big we wanted our compost bin to be. Let me assure you, this is easier said than done. Steve decided on 3' X 3' (a cubic yard for those of you who stink at converting measurements, like me). Some would say that's too big but I promise, it isn't. Apparently, the bigger your compost bin the more heat it generates, resulting in a faster composting time. It's really not that big. See, this is our compost bin:
These are the plans we used to build our compost bin.
Honestly, composting is not rocket science. I have a black thumb of death and our compost pile is thriving. First of all, you only want to add organic matter to your pile, no meats or dairy! Another tip? Save your coffee grounds! Coffee is rich in nitrogen, a key element in successful soil. If your filters are unbleached you can add those, too. Here's a little more on why coffee grounds are excellent for composting.
If you're a true beginner and don't want to spend hours scouring the internet for composting advice invest in a good book like this.
If you're not a handyman (hey, this is a judgement-free zone) Plow & Hearth offers a gorgeous compost bin at a reasonable price.
Make sure you buy a quality pitchfork. You will need it for turning your pile. My husband was insistent that it's a short-handled pitchfork. I don't usually argue with him about stuff like this.
Personally, I think Muddy Mates are an essential part of any gardening project. I have tiny hands and can never find gloves that fit. These lovelies come in my size and hold up season after season of working in the garden.
OK, here's another must-have if you want to compost: a composting pail. Think about it, are you going to want to make a trip out to your pile every night after dinner? We sure don't. Therein lies the problem: stinky, decomposing food in your kitchen. A compost pail lets you store organic matter without the stench. Hooray!
There you have it: a few basics to get you started. Want to take your composting to the next level? Here are a few more composting must-haves.