Compost at Home: Tips for Composting and Vermicomposting

Recycle kitchen scraps to help the planet—and your garden.

| January/February 2011

  • Worms rapidly decompose food and yard waste into potent, nutrient-rich vermicast, or worm castings.
  • Add fruit and vegetable scraps, plant material, grass clippings and paper to your compost pile.

Americans recycled just 3 percent of the 32 million tons of food scrap waste we produced in 2008. Put your kitchen scraps to work to help the planet—and your garden.  

An easy way to make a big difference. Yard trimmings and food residuals constitute 26 percent of municipal solid waste, according to the EPA. In the landfill, these easily recycled materials rot from lack of air, creating methane, a nasty greenhouse gas. By breaking down those materials on-site, home gardeners eliminate both those greenhouse gases and the energy expended to haul and process organic waste. Plus, they get a super-duper soil amendment guaranteed to improve plant health and production.

Join in the fun. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can use compost for potted plants or give it to a neighborhood gardener or community garden. For a list of likely takers, visit or

Ultra-Easy Compost 

Compost helps plants grow by improving soil’s structure, water-holding capacity and nutrient content.

1. Set a commercial or homemade composter on the ground in an easily accessible place. For a simple, inexpensive open bin, make a circle about 3 or 4 feet in diameter out of 3-to-4-foot-high wire garden fencing.



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