Setting Up a Composter


Compost is matter that is partially decomposed organic matter. It improves your soil's condition and drainage and making it keeps organic compounds out of landfills. While organic matter will break down in the ground, it does so much more quickly in a compost pile. Premade composters are readily available and simple to set up, or you can make your own.

Step 1

Choose a place in your yard for your composter. It should be out of the way but easily accessible. Set your composter in the selected area. Make sure it has air holes so the compost can discompose properly.

Step 2

Fill the bottom of the composter with 3 to 4 inches of coarse material such as small branches and twigs.

Step 3

Add 6 to 8 inches of organic waste, such are yard clippings, fruit or vegetable rinds and eggshells. Water the scraps until they are moist but not soggy.

Step 4

Add an inch of soil on top to help aid the decomposition. Repeat each layer until the composter is full.

Step 5

Turn the compost with a pitchfork every 3 to 4 weeks to make sure it has enough air. If the compost is dry, add enough water to make it damp. Add new vegetable scraps to the heap as they are available. Most compost is ready to be used within 3 to 4 months.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost bin
  • Organic material
  • Soil
  • Pitchfork


  • University of Missouri: Making and Using Compost
  • Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: Composting at Home

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois: Materials for Composting
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About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.