Ryland Engelhart’s 6 Tips for Better Composting at Home

published Apr 21, 2014
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(Image credit: mitchellsk/Shutterstock; Ryland Engelhart)

Are you planning on setting up a backyard compost system this year? If you are looking for a little guidance on turning kitchen scraps into “black gold,” Ryland Engelhart is here to help. He’s the co-founder of Kiss the Ground, an organization dedicated to healthier soil through composting, and he today he is sharing six essential tips for better composting at home.

Ryland Engelhart’s 6 Tips for Better Composting

  1. Keep your compost moist. Yes, you need to water your compost; it should be as moist as a wrung out sponge. To test it, squeeze a handful — it should just barely form water droplets between your fingers.
  2. Pay attention to particle size. Smaller particles break down faster, so be sure to break up any large pieces.
  3. Make sure your compost is getting enough oxygen. Some airflow is essential to keep the process aerobic and to avoid foul odors. Compost should never smell bad. If it does, it needs to be turned more frequently.
  4. Try to use equal amounts of greens and browns. Greens include grass, green leaves, and vegetable scraps, and browns include dry leaves, small branches, and shredded paper.
  5. Do not compost grease, ash, glass, metal, plastic, or animal manure.
  6. Keep a container on the counter to collect your scraps for composting. I like to use a gallon sized jug with lid, but the more design-conscious can also find some really great compost buckets online.

→ More from Ryland Engelhart: Kiss the Ground

More Composting Tips from The Kitchn

Do you have any tips for better composting at home?