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composting for rookies

After leaving my parents’ home and going off to college, I have lived mostly in apartment buildings. However, these past two years I’ve had the opportunity to live in a teeny tiny yellow bungalow (hence the blog name…) with a backyard for Polly. This is Polly:

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I’ve really loved having a backyard, because it has given me the opportunity to grow a small garden. I’ve had an apartment sized herb garden before, but the backyard has given me space to experiment a bit more with growing plants. This year I decided, to make my garden super extra special, I would try out composting for the first time. Rather than using chemicals, I thought it would be great to use fresh and natural compost to provide nutrients for my plants to grow larger and stronger. My mom bought me this tumbler composter for Christmas:


You can find this same composter on Amazon:


Before starting my composting experiment, I read the book Let it Rot: The Gardener’s Guide to Composting and checked out a couple of gardening blogs to get a handle on the proper methods for composting. I read that composting can be a bit finicky, because you have to get the proper balance of brown and green materials for it to break down and create nutrient rich soil. You want to have two thirds part brown material and one third part green material. Here’s a list of both brown and green materials you can compost:


  • dry leaves
  • straw
  • paper
  • hair/animal fur
  • shredded paper bags
  • cut up cardboard
  • paper towels
  • paper tubes


  • vegetable and fruit scraps
  • coffee grounds and filters
  • plant trimmings
  • tea bags
  • egg shells

Some basic tips for beginner composting include:

– Don’t compost meat, dairy products, diseased plants, or animal waste.

– Be sure to chop your compostable materials into small scraps for quicker decomposition.

– Turning your compost will help quicken the decomposition process by introducing air into your pile of materials.

– Your compost also needs water; keep it slightly damp but not drenched. Too much water will reduce airflow but too little will slow down decomposition.

Good luck in your rookie composting adventures! I’m excited for the composted soil I will have in a few months and as importantly, I’ve really enjoyed reducing waste. A lot less has gone into the trash these past few months and will be recycled for happy, healthy plants!



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One thought on “composting for rookies

  1. What you are doing is amazing! I really like the make your own natural fertilizer idea! and the other thing that I love about this idea is also the fact that you are re-using your waste into something useful, instead of trowing them into the trash can. thanks for sharing!

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