Infographic: How-To Compost

Composting is the combining and managing of specific waste materials so that they decompose. Once the materials are mixed together, microbes in the soil will start to breakdown the waste and turn it into the nutrient rich material that helps plants grow. By composting, you are not only creating something that helps keep plants healthy, but you are keeping compostable waste products like food scraps and yard waste out of landfills. This infographic reviews the dos and dont’s of composting, where and how to compost, what to compost and what not to compost.

How-to Compost Poster, PBS Nature

Download a PDF of this infographic.

  • Kavita


  • Vikash Agarwal

    Nice Infographic. Hope you can come out with sustainiblity, forestry, wildlife, sustainiblity, greenery infographics.

  • waytogo

    Thanks for the info. it works well & does not need much space. I had a small spot near a wall where I would throw all the kitchen scraps and cover with the soil round the year, even in winter. In a couple of months ? never really paid attention to the time it took) the whole thing would turn to nice dark soil!
    I am buying vermicompost but I understand cow dung is what is used with worms to make the Vermicompost. May be some one can add if they have experience with this.

  • Nalini Chugani

    Thanks for a precise, informative and clearly explained process of Composting through attractive graphics.

  • J.M.Puffer

    This is just what I was looking for. Thank you

  • Beth

    LOVE composting! Thanks for covering this topic :)

  • FloridaGal

    Thanks for the “Infographic.” Unfortunately, the fine print is too small to easily read…I had to use a magnifying glass. Y’know, if you’re going to print something for your readership, it would be good to make it large enough for us oldsters to read. I have a compost pile but feel like I can always learn how to do it better.

  • mik

    You can use the zoom feature on your browser FloridaGal.

  • Virginia

    Once you get a good size compost pile, do you then need to start a second pile so the first one can get into breakdown mode?

  • Sharon

    I thought I knew all this stuff but I learned some things!

  • Margie S.

    I keep my worm bin in the kitchen for scraps. I layer with junk mail and other papers (no shiny paper or window pane parts) for my worm bedding. It works fabulously and there’s no smell.

  • Diana Pacin

    Great infographic!
    I’ve been composting for some years . . . learning as I go, but how do you shred nut shells?(Step #1) I put them on whole, and it is true, it takes for ever to brake down.
    It stills seems like a miracle to get the moist, sweet smelling compost from stuff that I would through away in the garbage otherwise.

    Thank you.

  • Ken Hamasaka

    To Waytogo: I also read about using cow dung in a compost pile. I tried it, but also bred those pesky black flies that bother cows and horses, particularly around their eyes and noses. That is where the flies descended on me. That went on for 2 years or so, after I stopped with the cow dung. I never used it since and have had pretty good compost ever since. So I would avoid cow dung, and once using compost on lawns and flower beds, I think you’ll find that you won’t need it.

  • Bette

    Good information here. And Ken’s answer on cow manure are accurate and true. Stick to “garbage” under the sink which can be transferred to a larger compost pile or container. Isn’t it a miracle that eggs shells, coffee grounds, veggie scraps, etc. can become transformed into such beautiful dark, rich soil?

  • Grace G.

    I wondered why I never got worms in my compost, now I know why. I use concrete blocks and have three sections. One for dirt to cover the compost with and two for compost. I just started putting a bagger on my lawn mower and now I save grass clippings and shredded leaves to throw on top. I just recently realized how important the brown material is and now I know the ratio to use. Much higher than I would have thought. Thanks for your information.

  • Shamus

    don’t build composts near forests

  • Jack Tanner
  • Marye Ann Carstensen

    We grow Red Wiggler worms in large rectangular heated worm bins as a business, 10 years now. We have gotten to talk to many nice people at Farmer’s
    Market, have several return, loyal customers, 5 green houses/garden centers sell our product.- worm castings/ worm tea. We put our garbage in a pail or large bowl to decay and breakdown first for a time, then lay it in just under the top of the worm bin in the bedding, works better than putting it on top where it attracks other insects that not only eat the garbage but can kill worms. No waste or clean up as is needed after 2 or 3 days as before. One gardener who also grows worms even puts peppers and few other spicey foods in his pail. Most directions say no spicy foods. My husband puts apples in large ice cream containers, puts lid on and leaves then outside all winter. As they freeze and thaw if turns into very good food for the worms. The advice of what not to use is very good, don’t ever get bags of leaves from curb side for a garden or compost pile because of chemicals used. Not only kills worms, the end compost will have traces or large amounts in your ground that can kill good soil.. Be careful with any animal manure near and after owner have given a deworming medicine. It also is a chemical. We use horse right now. Llama had to many rocks but rabbit manure is very good. In my research I lerned that England and Australia (and I imagine others) have been composting or raising worms to rid mountains of garbage and profiting by selling good compost as result. Many colleges have their own and have not used chemicals for long time. There are mnay communities that have a worm growing/compost pile and even get volunteer to help take care of it. Our 3 bins take enugh time, bravo for those communities that really take it seriously.

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