Easy Compost - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Easy Compost

Easy Compost

See Table of Contents
  • Introduction, by  Niall Dunne
  • Why Compost?, by Grace Gershuny
  • Compost and the Soil Food Web, by Benjamin Grant
  • Basic Ingredients and Techniques, by Joseph Keyser
  • Compostable Plastic in Your Bin?, by Niall Dunne
  • Composting in Practice, by Elizabeth Peters
  • Establishing and Maintaining a System, by Patricia Jasaitis
  • Debunking Composting Myths, by Joseph Keyser
  • Bins and Other Equipment, by Beth Hanson
  • Build Your Own Composter, by Jon Pope
  • Indoor Vermicomposting, by Mary Appelhof
  • Worms Running Wild, by Niall Dunne
  • Worms in the Classroom, by Ashley Gamell
  • Using Compost in the Garden, by Miranda Smith
  • Shopping Tips, by Rod Tyler
  • Compost Tea for the Home Gardener, by Joshua Cohen
  • Two Compost Tea Recipes, by Christopher Roddick
  • Composting in the City, by Jennifer Blackwell
  • Sheet Composting in Raised Beds
  • Glossary, by Niall Dunne

  • For More Information
  • Contributors
  • Index


Easy Compost

Niall Dunne

Farmers and gardeners have long understood the benefits of compost to their soil and plants. An annual application of compost enhances soil’s structure and its ability to hold water. It also creates habitat for beneficial soil organisms, provides a source of slow–release nutrients for plants, and protects plants from soil–borne pathogens. Though the process of making compost hasn’t changed much over time, more and more people are becoming interested in the key role composting plays in soil conservation, sustainable plant care, and the reduction of organic waste. No longer confined to rural and agricultural areas, composting is now regularly practiced in the heart of our cities, too, by green thumbs in high–rise apartments, community gardens, and schoolyard horticulture programs.

Easy Compost was first published in 1997, and this revised edition remains an essential guide to the science and art of composting. It explains how composting benefits your garden as well as the larger environment and describes the role of earthworms and other tiny creatures that turn your kitchen scraps and garden clippings into “black gold.” At the heart of the book are the basics of what you need to know to make good compost: which materials to include, where to locate your pile, what type of bin to use, troubleshooting tips, and instructions for composting indoors. You’ll also find brand–new chapters on compost tea; vermicomposting in schools; urban composting, including profiles of five innovative community composting sites in Brooklyn; and an expanded guide for building your own composter.

In an age of anxiety over climate change, air and water pollution, biodiversity loss, and the increasing threat of ecosystem collapse, composting is more crucial than it has ever been before. By enabling homeowners and gardeners to recycle their own waste, cut down on irrigation needs, and reduce their dependence on fossil–fuel–based fertilizers and pesticides, composting offers people a way to significantly lessen their environmental impact and grow plants more sustainably. Composting is also easy and fun, so that everyone—from kids to grown–ups—can get involved and live more in harmony with nature.

Image, top of page: Elizabeth Peters