How to Make Kitchen Compost

Overview

Apart from meat, fish and dairy products, you can compost just about any natural kitchen waste you may have. Fruit and vegetable peels and scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells---you name it, and you can probably compost it. Green, or nitrogen-rich, compost material, must be balanced with brown, or carbon-rich, ingredients to ensure complete breakdown into usable compost for your yard or garden.

Step 1

Choose a location for your compost heap that is over soil and grass, not asphalt or concrete. If possible, choose a location near the base of a deciduous tree so that it gets lots of sun and heats up quickly in the spring, but is sheltered from too much sun during the heat of summer.

Step 2

Spread a layer of straw, spoiled hay, newspapers or cardboard on the spot where you wish to locate your compost heap.

Step 3

Add any kitchen scraps you have. Remember that these are considered green compost materials. Alternate any green and brown materials that you have handy in a roughly 1:1 ratio. Grass clippings, vegetarian pet waste (such as from guinea pigs, rabbits, and other pets that do not eat meat), and yard waste are green. Cardboard, newspaper, and shredding are brown. Dried leaves are also considered brown.

Step 4

Cover the heap with a thin layer (just a couple of inches) of soil once you have constructed it. Add a black plastic tarp held down by soil at the corners if you like; this will help the heap to heat up and begin decomposing faster.

Step 5

Add new kitchen scraps and other materials as you have them. Dig a hole down to the central portion of the heap, then add the scraps. Cover the hole back up.

Step 6

Turn your compost heap as often as possible to help it decompose more quickly. Encourage aerobic decomposition by incorporating air as often as possible. Use your shovel to mix the compost heap contents occasionally.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid meat, fish, and dairy products in your compost heap. Although they will decompose, like anything else, they will also attract pests of both the insect and animal varieties.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen scraps
  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Shredding
  • Grass clippings
  • Vegetarian pet waste
  • Yard waste
  • Soil
  • Shovel
  • Straw or spoiled hay
  • Black plastic tarp

References

  • King County Solid Waste Division: Make Your Own Kitchen Composter
  • Garden Organic: How to Make Compost
  • Washington State University Whatcom County Extension: A Guide to Composting Horse Manure
Keywords: kitchen compost heap, compost kitchen scraps, make own compost

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.