Organic matter is known as the “soul of a healthy soil.”

Adding compost to your yard or garden soil will help your plants grow bigger and healthier. The organic matter in compost helps soil hold on to nutrients and water.

Composting saves you money

Using compost as a soil conditioner or mulch reduces your need to purchase these lawn and garden products.

Composting is practical and convenient

No need to bother bagging leaves and other garden/yard wastes. Simply add them to your backyard bin and watch these items turn into rich dark humus.

Composting is a good alternative to landfilling or incinerating

Yard and garden wastes account for almost 20% of the total amount of trash thrown every year.

Here on the urban homestead we are striving to become self sufficient and reliant.  One aspect in that is growing our own soil.  Thanks to a couple million (worms), a menagerie of barnyard critters, and religious composting efforts we are able to produce enough soil to replenish each year.

I’ve published many a post on this very subject

Check out

Back to the Earth


Growing Tips

There’s probably more!

We contribute much of our success and the “superior” taste of our produce to our soil.  As Farmer D likes to say soil is not just something to hold the plants.  Grow the soil and you will reap healthy plants!

Here on the urban homestead, we are even “going up in the world” (quoting from a classic line made by Farmer Justin in Homegrown Revolution – purchase your copy here) , “we are about a 1.5 higher than our next door neighbor!”  It’s true.

That’s due to 25 years worth of mulching, composting, mulching and composting.

Let It Rot

Cinder block “passive or “pile”” composting.

We believe “compost happens” and we have many different composters here on the urban homestead: solar cone digestor (one of our faves!), solar scrap eater, handy dandy tumbler, stackable one’s (got those from the City of Pasadena) worms and our favorites off all – our animal menagerie (aka “pet organic composting systems”)

But the cinder block composter is by far the cheapest and simplest to use.  We made ours out of recycled (free) cinder blocks.   We just pile up yard waste and let rot.

Turning the compost pile

Compost activators helps speed up the process along with a good bucket dose of nettle tea.

Smokin’!  With all the rains we’ve been having, it was full of red worms and….


Come and get it!  The compost pile not only supplies us with soil but treats, treats for the critters that is.  Didn’t get any photos but the chickens and ducks gorged themselves with juicy grubs.


  1. ariella says:

    that’s some impressive compost steam!!

  2. Laura says:

    I’ll bet your chickens did have a feast. Ours love worms! We use a homemade tumbler style composter. For some reason the same style you are using didn’t work for us. Maybe we didn’t use it long enough?

  3. Linda says:

    It must be the day to turn the compost! That was my same chore this morning, sifting out the completed compost and repiling the rest with new greens and weeds. I’ve been contemplating a new finished compost aging storage system, and was also going to go the cinderblock route – my goal is to create enough compost to use on the entire garden, once I get the soil to a good healthy level. Upon first breaking ground, I add sand and copious manure, and dig it in a deeply as I can go. Then seasonally, I’ve been adding compost and digging that in. The oldest beds are really in pretty good shape and the newest ones are coming along nicely.

    I am surprised at how much compost I’ve created this year – I might actually make enough to cover the garden twice a year as I’d like! I haven’t had to import a lot of compostable materials, but I’ve thought that I might try/have to to reach my finished compost goals.

    Compost is gardeners gold! Love that stuff.

  4. Henri says:

    Whoa that’s some steam.. facial for Justin? hehe

    I’ve started with a recycled pallet compost bin 2 years ago and it’s served it’s purpose but with our short gardening and composting season, and now that I’ve learned much more ;o) I’ll be building a new 3 bin pallet composting station. This should help speed things up so I can get more compost ready for the fall & spring.. not much going on from Nov-Apr when things are frozen ;o( I might try vermicomposting next winter so I at least have something going.

  5. Sarah says:

    You have inspired me (once again) to take up composting. Before, the hubby wasn’t “into it”, and now he is learning so much about chemicals and GMO’s & such… I think he is on board this time!!!

    I LOVE to see the compost steaming! It really is beautiful! Now onto the work for me, getting started!!! 🙂

    Thanks again! 🙂

  6. Michelle says:

    This post title is VERY funny…!

  7. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm says:

    You are absolutely right! Nourish the soil first! Compost is the gardener’s best friend.

    I like your blog!

  8. Chris says:

    Here’s a kitchen composting tip from a speaker at NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) as an alternative to a worm bin in your home. You will need (3) 5 gallon buckets. Fill the first bucket with 50% sawdust and 50% soil/compost. Put a little bit of straw in the bottom of the second bucket, then just start adding your kitchen scraps (chop up if too big). Every time you add kitchen scraps, add a handful or so of the sawdust/dirt mixture on top and cover loosely. Once the bucket is full, set it aside to add to your outdoor compost pile. It’s already pretty much broken down so it’s pretty balanced in carbon/nitrogen ratio. This tip is from Dr. Lee Reich. This is a good method for us New Englanders who have a shorter “cooking” season for making compost.

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