Compost Frequently Asked Questions


This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page is here for you!

Whether you have a question about composting, or are here to offer up some advice, this FAQs page is here for you.

It was built for three specific reasons:

1. To provide you with answers to your most frequently asked compost questions.

2. To provide you with a means of asking any compost-related question you may have on your mind.

3. To provide you with a page to talk to one another, share your composting experiences, and help answer one another's questions.

We'd love for you to think that we had the answers to all of your composting questions, but we're humble enough to know that we don't. There are so many more knowledgeable members in our ever-growing compost junkie tribe, that we could never take credit for all of the wonderful information provided on this site.

So...

    If you have a question...please ask it!

    If you have an answer...please post it!

Together, we can share our message about the fascinating world of compost.

Compost F.A.Qs.

1. What is Composting?

    Composting takes advantage of naturally-occurring microbes in order to help speed up the breakdown of organic waste. By creating an ideal environment for these microbes, including moisture, temperature, and oxygen, you encourage their populations to grow, and digest your waste more quickly...read more

2. If I Use Compost, Is My Garden Organic?

    There is a common misconception in the gardening world, and that is, if you use compost in your garden, you're gardening organically. Is that really the case? Could there be other factors that influence whether your garden is "organic"? What does "organic gardening" really mean? For an in depth look a these questions, visit our oldest Compost Junkie Tribe member over at Vegetable Gardening Gnomes.



What Other Compost Junkies Have Asked

Click below to see contributions from other compost junkies to this page...

Is Rototilling Bad For My Soil? 
I understand it's not good to rototil the soil. How do I start a garden site without disturbing life under foot? Thanks for your great website Dave!

School Gardens and Compost 
What's the best kind of compost to use in a large school garden?

How Much Compost Should I Use? 
I have a garden space that is approximately 150 square feet that I have worked for about 20 years. I use a tiller and turn 20 pounds of 12-12-12 inorganic …

My Home Soil Test Kit Revealed The Following - Can You Help? 
I read and re-read the free compost ebooks and although they're very informative, I still have lots of questions. HELP please. I have approx. 1,400 …

Calculating the Composting Carbon Nitrogen Ratio 
How do you apply the carbon-nitrogen ratio if the compost consists of more than 1 C:N (greens and browns) ratio? For example, I want to add both leaves …

Making Compost on My 500 Acre Tree Farm 
I own a 500 acre tree farm. We grow pine trees. We have a lot of deer and turkey, so I have left about 20 acres of the land to plant for these animals. …

Composting Wood Chips 
I have a small wood chipper and would like to add the chips to my compost pile but they don't break down fast enough, what can I do to use these chips? …

Will This Technique Enrich My Garden Soil? 
I tilled up the soil in my garden for the winter, then covered it with all of my leaves, old grass clippings, and 100 lbs of finely shredded paper. I …

Why Not Compost Directly on my Garden Soil? 
Is it a good idea to take the best ingredient with the right C/N ratio, but instead of using it to make a compost pile, I use it as a mulch? I would also …

Farmers In The Third World Need This Information!! 
I love the way you describe your knowledge. A friend of mine sent me your free e-booklets . Are they translated into any other languages? I ask because …

How to Start a Compost Business? 
I live in Kansas City, MO and I'm interested in starting a composting business using mainly food waste. I am currently looking into grant money, and any …

Can I Put Moldy Items in My Compost Pile/Bin? 
Is it okay to put moldy items in my compost pile?

How Do I Get My University to Start a Composting Program? 
I am a student at West Chester University in PA. My classmates and I are trying to get the University to compost their food waste. West Chester University …

Composting Grass Dairy Manure 
I'm trying to make compost out of grazed dairy manure, and have been told not to use other materials as the cows are grass fed. Should I use grass clippings …

Is Quality Compost Always Black? 
Is there actually a way to make compost in a commercial setting so that it doesn't go anaerobic? Is high quality finished compost always black in color? …

Coaxing the Highest Amount of Nutrients From Compost 
I am a commercial wheatgrass grower who grows in compost. Can you help me to enhance my learning and focus as to what is the best way to coax the highest …

Can I Compost Spent Beer Grains and Hops? 
Can I safely compost spent beer grains and hops?

Adding Grass Clippings and Roses Directly to Flower Beds 
My rose beds already have compost and many earth worms working for me. I also use compost tea as a drench. Would adding grass clippings and old rose flowers …

Can I Add Sourdough Starter to my Compost Pile? 
I make sourdough bread and have to toss out some of the started each time. The starter consists of yeast, flour and water. Can I add this leftover starter …

Anaerobic Compost and Alcohol. 
I’ve read that anaerobic compost could contain up to 30 ppm alcohol and that 1 ppm will kill plants. It would therefore be great to know the answers to …

Can I Mix Composted Food Waste with Composted Yard Waste? 
Can you please give some insight into using composted food waste and then reselling it with composted garden waste. We supply the Bokashi bins to households …

Can I Use Wood Pellets for Composting? 
I would like to know if it is okay to use wood pellets for composting. My fear is that there is Walnut in the mix. There is no glue. Looking forward to …

How Can I Add Minerals to my Compost? 
How can I add trace elements (e.g. Magnesium) to my compost?

Where can I Find this Compost Amendment? 
Does anyone know of a good source for rock phosphate in bulk in Ontario?

Composting in Canada is SO Frustrating! 
The most frustrating thing about trying to do any composting in Ontario, Canada is the lack of affordable composting devices. For instance, you can get …

Where Can I Find a Good Quality Electric Compost Shredder that is Cost Effective? 
I have tried three different electric shredders that I run off my solar system, and all have failed within a year or two. The Rover from Australia was …

Compost Business - Is There More To It Than This? 
I've been in the lawn care industry for 28 years and do leaf removal in the Fall. I collect tons of leaves and dump them on my 2 acre property in the woods. …

How Do I Raise the pH of My Compost? 
What can I add to my compost to raise the pH?

Industrial Sized Tumbler 
I have a small farm and would like to build a homemade compost tumbler that can hold 5-10 yards. Do you know of anyone building tumblers at this scale? …

Why Aren't My Compost Piles Breaking Down? 
We have 10-12 acres of landscaping on an estate in Napa Valley, California. We generate sizable portions of leaves, horse manure, grass cuttings, and small …

How to Turn Compost in a Plastic Compost Bin 
I would like to buy a plastic compost bin, but it seems that turning the compost in one of these bins would be very difficult. Could you please comment? …

Starting a Composting Business 
I would like to start a composting business in my home country. What are the necessary requirements, and cost of starting a small scale composting company? …

Can I Compost Whole Fruits and Veggies or Just Food Scraps? 
I've heard that vegetable and fruit scraps are good for composting but what about whole fruits like grapes and strawberries? I had a bunch that weren't …

How to Go From Worm-Less Clay to a Microbe-Rich Rainforest 
I am a newbie gardener that just moved to Colorado only to discover that what they call "soil" out here is actually worm-less clay. I will be starting …

Help Me Start a Low Budget Composting Business 
I'd like to start a composting business in India. I'm trying to figure out just how little space I need to get started. I also want to get started as soon …

What are the Obstacles to Starting a Compost Program at Work?  
What are the major obstacles people run into when trying to start a composting program at their work? I currently work in the food industry.

Biochar Fertilizer in My Garden 
I am interested in biochar as a fertilizer for my garden. I was wondering if anyone here had any thoughts on the subject? Have you used it to fertilize …

Buying Worms for Composting 
What are the reputable places from which one should buy composting worms? I would love to patronize such establishments!

Using Forest Soil to Inoculate Compost Not rated yet
I like to add a couple of buckets of forest soil prior to making my hot compost. I use a hot composting technique and my pile is usually about two cubic …

I've Got the Compost Ingredients...But Now What? Not rated yet
I am looking for a compost grinder or shredder. I work for a small College and we want to start a composting program, but I am unsure what to do with …