Composting Techniques

Composting waste, such as food, paper and other organic material, is a great way not only to help your garden but to help the environment as well. Composting organic waste means that waste will not end up in a landfill. Also, it will add much needed organic material to your soil. Composting also saves you money since you will no longer need to buy manure for your garden. Before you start composting, choose which composting technique is right for you.

Aerobic Composting

Aerobic composting is the traditional method of composting that has been used for thousands of years, but it was refined by Sir Albert Howard in the 1920s. Aerobic composting allows aerobic bacteria to naturally break down the organic material in your compost bin or pile. Aerobic composting usually is placed in a large pile or in a composting bin that is well aerated. Good air circulation is needed for the bacteria to do their work, so aerobic composting requires either turning the compost pile or turning the compost bin if you want compost to form quickly. Without good air flow aerobic composting can take up to 2 years for compost to form.


Vermicomposting is composting with earthworms. This type of composting is best for small spaces, such as urban homes and apartments, since it takes up little space and does not need to be aerated like aerobic composting. Redworms and brandling worms, two of the most popular worms used in vermicomposting, eat the organic material in your bin and turn it into compost. However, since vermicomposting involves living worms you have to keep their well being in mind and avoid adding material with pesticides or other chemicals. Also you have to keep the compost bin warm in the winter.

On Site Composting

On-site composting is the easiest form of composting to do. It is simply leaving the organic material from your garden to fall where it may and compost naturally into the ground. Grasscycling--leaving grass clipping on top of a lawn--is a good example of this. This method can be done with other fallen plant debris as well, such as leaves. It can even be sprinkled over the garden and left to decompose where you want it to.

Keywords: composting technique, composting, aerobic composting, vermicomposting, on site composting

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 for over a year and her focus' are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Hollan taught English in Japan. She has a B.A. in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.