Digging Deeper

Learn more about making quality compost:

Making Quality Compost

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  • David Gasparro

    Reply Reply September 14, 2017

    When using scraps from the kitchen that come from the supermarket. If the scraps have chemical residue or are GMO and the grass clippings are from grass treated with weed and feed and the straw and hay have chemicals in them or are GMO, will this effect the compost and the garden soil ? How can you be sure what you buy is clean ?

    • Paul

      Reply Reply September 17, 2017

      Great question David. Yes, you do want to be careful what you put into the compost pile. I’d suggest making sure that you only purchase organic food from the store. That will make sure that none of your scraps are GMOs or have the harmful chemicals they spray on non-organic crops. You won’t find any GMO grass yet, but chemical sprays may be a problem. It’s a good idea to know where your grass is coming from. The best is to know the source and ask them questions.

  • Mona rose lujano

    Reply Reply April 20, 2019

    Help! There was a rat on my compost bin this morning! do I throw out the entire contents of the bin and start over?
    I’ve neglected my bin as of late, but decided to give it another try after watching the videos. But now I feel totally defeated.

    • Paul

      Reply Reply April 22, 2019

      Hi Mona Rose! Great question. 🙂 And good news for you! No, there is no need to throw out the compost. In fact it is totally normal for rodents to run over the compost and contamination is not a concern because the decomposition process will take care of anything like that naturally. So definitely no need to feel defeated. Keep up the good work!!

  • gita narielwala

    Reply Reply March 31, 2020

    hi can you please tell me can you make compose from only kitchen scraps?

    • Paul

      Reply Reply March 31, 2020

      Hi Gita, Great question! If you ONLY use kitchen scraps for your compost pile it will most likely become stinky and gooey because almost everything coming from the kitchen is wet or “green” ingredients. To really compost it in the best way you’ll want to mix it with some dry ingredients like dry leaves or straw.

  • Chris Eno

    Reply Reply April 12, 2020

    Hi Paul,
    My father-in-law has a machine that grinds and dries (bakes) kitchen scraps. They come out in a few hours as a dry crumble or powder.
    Do you have any knowledge about using such a process?
    Would the stuff coming out be considered greens still or browns since they are dried?

    • Paul

      Reply Reply April 12, 2020

      Hi Chris – wow sounds pretty cool! You could definitely probably use them in your compost. I don’t have any personal experience using it but I would consider it a brown since it has been dried out. Hope this helps!

    • Tracy

      Reply Reply April 14, 2023

      Is the machine called a Lomi? I purchased one a couple years ago but haven’t utilized it yet since I am living in a fifth-wheel at the moment.

  • Karen Chiarini

    Reply Reply April 27, 2020

    This is the info I was looking for! Thank you! More questions for you: if I’ll be using mostly containers (not raised beds or garden), would the ratio of brown and green material be the same? Also, living in the city, I have no room for a tumbler, so what do you suggest I use? And lastly, I was told garlic and onions should not be used as compost, nor any veggie scraps that were cooked. Is that true? Thanks so much!

    • Paul

      Reply Reply April 28, 2020

      Hi Karen, great! Glad it was helpful. So the ratio will be the same for making compost. You don’t want to actually be growing in the organic matter while it is decomposing. You’ll want to do that separately and then put the compost that has fully decomposed into your containers or raised beds.

      And good question. Honestly I can’t think of any more space efficient way to compost than using a tumbler. If you really can’t fit one in then it will probably be hard to really do a compost pile. The tumblers come in different sizes and you should be able to find on that should fit in your area. Otherwise you may have to settle on buying compost.

      One more thought. Can you fit a tower garden? Here is a tower garden that has a composting tube in the center: https://gardentowerproject.com/product/garden-tower-2-50-plant-composting-container-garden/

  • Beth

    Reply Reply February 23, 2022

    Can you use wood chips as a brown or do they break down too slowly?

  • Jenica

    Reply Reply March 4, 2022

    I have a large barrel I can compost in. Last time I tried I ended up with maggots. is this from being too wet? too much Green? and is it bad if they are in it?

  • Bruce Klutz

    Reply Reply September 2, 2022

    Paul, greetings!! Finishing up this summer’s garden. First year having a garden on this soil. Soil is mostly clay and heavy. Wondering the best ways to put this to bed for the winter. Add the humus and composting to top and working it in. Then covering with straw to keep down weeds. I would appreciate any help for best case outcome for next year. Had a fair first year. Tomato’s were good, potatoes , beets.
    Carrots had difficulty with heavy soil. Beans were spotty. Spinach was difficult as well as broccoli.
    Helping my daughter with her first garden. It’s 35 x 30 ft. I went over your videos again on soil structure.
    trying to find a good source of compost and humus. Love all your videos and information. Have learned a lot, after many years off from gardening. Blessings

  • Laurie S.

    Reply Reply October 19, 2022

    If you use vermicomposting, how do you know if it is free from any fungus when it is ready?

  • Andrea

    Reply Reply December 29, 2022

    Hi Paul, I have chickens and clean out their coop every day. I end up throwing the chicken poop into the trash so my dog won’t get into it however, I was wondering if it would be a good thing to put into a compost pile?

    • Sars

      Reply Reply February 22, 2023

      I’m not Paul, but have used chicken manure in my garden before! We used our chicken manure and goat manure in our compost. Good thing about using those is you don’t have to wait 6mo or more to be able to use it in your garden! Warning, chicken manure can burn your plants up if you have a great amount of it in your compost! Best of luck to you and definitely don’t waste that precious manure from your lovely chickens!
      Love and light to you with many beautiful blessings ✨️ !

  • Anna-Lia

    Reply Reply January 15, 2023

    Hi Paul, I would love to compost but we have a bad rat problem. Do you know of any ways I could compost with out feeding Thea’s nasty critters. Thank you!

    • K.J.

      Reply Reply February 6, 2023

      Hello, Anna-Lia:

      I’m not affiliated with Paul and co., but I have seen “rat-proof” composters that have very, very finely-woven metal mesh as part of the bin walls. They are usually elevated. If you put a lot of squishy “green” stuff into the composters, they wouldn’t necessarily keep juice or sludge that the rats could lick up from leaking out, but they would mostly keep rodents from getting in. If that sounds like it would help, I recommend using your favorite search engine to look for “rat-proof composter” or “anti-rodent composting” for more information and options.


  • Ron

    Reply Reply July 21, 2023

    I don’t have a lot of brown sources, can you dry out grass clippings and use them as a brown or is that still a green? What about using shredded paper or cardboard as browns? Also, would coffee grounds be a green or a brown?

  • ASHLYN Ehsani

    Reply Reply July 31, 2023

    If we are trying to make our own compost via a homemade static aerated composting system what are the materials you would suggest including to provide a wide range of nutrients? I will be including kitchen scraps (other than meat and oils), rabbit waste, goat waste, and pig manure. The waste includes a good amount of hay.
    What else should I add to balance out the potassium and phosphorus. It seems like the current mixture planned would be too high in nitrogen.

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