Composting enriches the soil, enhances organic gardening and enables gardeners to increase the yield of their crops while spending less money on fertilizers and commercial soil enrichment materials. For all the work compost does, it's surprisingly easy to make. All you need is a place to contain it. Most of the ingredients for compost are available in your house and yard.
Buy or build a compost bin. You can spend up to several hundred dollars for a commercial compost bin, or you can build one yourself for much less money using chicken wire, wood planks or plastic fencing. All you need is a place to contain the compost and prevent it from blowing around the yard; you might also want to hide the compost as it decomposes.
Layer "green" and "brown" waste materials in your compost bin. Green materials include grass clippings, dead plants or plants you've thinned out of the garden, and kitchen scraps such as apple cores, vegetable waste, grapefruit rinds, banana peels, coffee grounds (filter and all), and tea bags. Brown materials include dead leaves, twigs, cardboard, egg cartons, paper towel rolls and office paper. Your compost will decompose more quickly if you chop larger items into pieces, such as big sections of cardboard. Use approximately the same amount of green and brown materials.
Apply activators and water. Although not absolutely necessary, your compost will be created more quickly if you add an activator. Activators include dried blood, lime, ammonium sulfate, compost or soil, poultry manure and urine. You can also purchase commercial activators. It's very important to keep your compost well-watered. When you grab a handful of compost, you should be able to squeeze a little water out.
Turn your compost with a shovel or pitchfork every two weeks or so. During hot weather, your materials will decompose and become compost within three months or so.
Apply the compost to your plants. Scoop the compost from the bottom of the heap: that's where the richest stuff is found. Apply 2 to 4 inches around your plants. You don't need to till it into the soil.