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What is Compost?

Benefits of Composting

Using Finished Compost

Compost & Nutrition


Composting Systems

Siting Your Compost Area



What to Compost

Stages of Composting

The Carbon:Nitrogen Ratio

Compost Activators

Turning Your Compost


Quick Start Guide

The Add-as-you-go Pile

The Batch Pile

Grass Clippings

Food Scraps

Leaves, Weeds &
Garden Debris

Compost Tea

Worm Composting


Troubleshooting Guide

Ask Professor Rot




Special thanks to Sonji McDowell, Master Gardener, for reviewing the following sites and submitting brief descriptions. If you have a website that you would like us to list please contact us.
Green Culture
This site has a wide variety of products that are not only related to composting but to gardening in general. They have anything from lawn mowers to rain catchers.
This site carries 3 varieties of expensive, fully automatic compost machines and the parts and accessories to accompany them. They have a brief section of Earth Facts containing a limited explanation to alternative home composting methods such as spread composting, worm composting, in-vessel systems, etc.  The California Integrated Waste Management Board
This site contains a brief explanation of the knowledge needed to start your own compost pile. It also includes a reference for troubleshooting, how-tos for making your own bin, links to purchase ready made bins, and many links and resources to other educational websites and ways to contact a Master Composter. This is a very informative site, descriptions are brief and easy to understand, they do not cut corners. Tons of links!
Guide to Home Composting is a resource on the D.E.P. Pennsylvania State site
This is a simple, and informative publication that provides a modest description of the basics of home composting. It provides very generalized instructions in assessing the site on your property best suitable for a setup, but will not actually tell you how to build one. Also includes a tad bit of troubleshooting, and has a few links for more extensive information.
D.E.P. Pennsylvania State site
This site contains a basic explanation about home composting and what you need to get started. It also has a list of FAQs. The real value of this site lies in its extensive list of links and resources for Pennsylvania residents wanting to know more about the world of composting. Also includes a few EPA compost utilization fact sheets which can be downloaded in a PDF format, and the latest information on what compost operators should know about the West Nile Virus.
Cornell Waste Management Institute
This is one of the few sites that focuses any attention on the health and safety guidelines for small scale composting. It also includes a multitude of different choices for various publications about composting: fact sheets, slide shows, videos, surveys, how-tos, composting in schools, resources for youth, etc. The publications are generally well written, and include a nice variety of pictures and illustrations. This site also has a built in search engine to enhance accessibility. 
University of Illinois Extension
An excellent site for learning many of the basics and science of home composting. Extensive and detailed with nice illustrations and a few photos. Could use more photos to break up the wordiness.
Home Composting, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension
This site contains a basic overview of the how, what , when, where, which, and why of composting. It touches very slightly on a few of the main composting methods, and states the advantages and disadvantages for both. Also has an integrated troubleshooting guide. Bottom of page contains a resources link, which is primarily tied to Extension service publications of a wide variety of topics. Also includes a 1-800 number for the Waste Management Office.
City Farmer; Urban Home Composting
City Farmer is a non-profit organization located in Vancouver, BC. While somewhat limited, when it comes to solid info, it has a number of links to sites containing info about worms, and it has a popular discussion forum for City Farmers Urban Agriculture.
This appears to be a great site, however it "temporarily" requires you to subscribe to their newsletter in order to view its contents. Not a good idea if you want to attract customers to your site!
Composting in Santa Cruz County
This site is user friendly, has links to several government sites, and a 1-800 # for the compost hotline. It offers tons of information on nearly all aspects of composting, recycling, etc. Also provides dates on compost workshops and classes available in the Santa Cruz area, California. This is a good one!
Recycle Now
This site has the standard information on the basics of composting.  Simple, easy to navigate, and has a multitude of links to government sites, organizations, and other sources of info.
Compost Guide
Standard compost info, can be wordy at times, but overall a good source of information.
Chicago Home Composting, University of Illinois Extension
This site is clean, user friendly, and informative in a very to-the-point sort of way. It has step-by-step guides on how to build all different types of bins. Also has some good composting resources links for people in the Chicago area.
This site provides the standard info on composting, botany, companion planting, permaculture, etc. You name it, all very basic info, but a well rounded array of topics.  Tons of links and resources!! Fairly easy to read, and has some real nice pictures.
Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority
This site offers an even more basic overview on composting, provides info on workshops, composting FAQs, etc.
This is the compost industry's mouthpiece, better known as the U.S. Composting Council. It is a "members only" site (for commercial, municipal and governmental agencies/businesses related to composting) whose primary value lies in the extensive amount of links and resources it provides for anything even remotely to do with composting (most of which are still available even if you are not a member).
Home Composting With Worms
This site provides a basic overview of how to set up a worm composting system and the pests and problems one might encounter along the way.
A very basic site, with very basic information for almost anything to do with recycling, also has a good amount of resources for more extensive information.
How to
This site provides a basic overview on various aspects of composting, and has many links. Navigation is tedious, and the layout can be distracting.
City of
This site has basic information on composting.  It is fun and easy to read, and has nice pictures; it appears to be excerpted from a book. No links, however.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Composting
Great site when it comes to the basics of composting, and providing resources for information on regional composting programs throughout the U.S. Also goes over regulations, benefits, and FAQs. Search engine.
Site provides basic information on composting, but is a bit selective about the topics. Lots of ads and links lend to a busy site that is somewhat tiring to look at.
USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service
The composting info on this site is limited, however it contains a search engine that is linked to tons of other government websites that offer more in depth information.
This site is a well-rounded source of info on the most basic how-tos of gardening (and composting), also sells garden supplies. A couple of resources for plant directories and dictionaries. Simple, yet effective.
This site is wordier than most, but has good solid info on composting and includes pictures too.  It has some cool environmentally conscious links as well, and a good list of resources for gardening publications.
Tons of articles, tips, recipes.  Navigation can be tedious, but overall a good source of info. Also contains an ever growing list of 163 things you can compost: a good idea!
Sustainable Production Systems
Has a basic article on the fundamentals of composting and quite a few others publications on agriculture. Simple, but has some good links to valuable information.
Cornell Composting
Not only does this site contain all the basics of composting, but it also goes into immense detail about the entire science and engineering behind it. Composting in schools is another topic covered.
The New York City Compost Project
Great site, whether you are looking for some basic info on composting, or a greatly detailed how to with pictures and illustrations. Very user friendly!
This is a unique site for a great cause. More people need to know about toilets that are more effective as biological converters of human and household waste, they will save money and energy too.
The Compost Bin
This site contains various basic info on composting, worms, and recycling, and has some products for sale.
ATTRA National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
This site has an extensive amount of information on a broad array of subjects in agriculture, horticulture, etc. Long list of resources for informational sites and non profit organizations.
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
This site has some good resources to info on the latest research for agriculture, environment, consumers, families and communities. Also has a modest amount of information on composting. Plenty of good links!
This is a commercial website with some basic info on composting. They gave access to all sorts of info on recent environmental news, pesticides, algae and mold, and a guide to composting livestock mortality.
Plant Talk Colorado
This site provides a generous array of info on many of the factors that should be considered when landscaping, gardening, composting, etc. Also addresses potential problems for each factor.
Stewardship Gardening, A service of Washington State University Cooperative Extension
This site has the basic scoop on composting, etc. But the information is spread out in such a way that makes it difficult to look at all of your options all at once. Good links though., the Original Guide to Living Wisely
This is a great website for random useful info, especially if you like reading lengthy, yet informative articles. Has a good section on hot topics in the news which makes for some interesting reading.  Moderately generalized how tos.
Project Compost
This site is the product of a student-run and student-funded unit of the Associated Students of University of California, Davis. Great cause, most importantly. Very small amount of information on composting, but a decent list of composting resources.
Green Treks Network, Inc.
Good information on the basics of composting, GREAT how tos for building various types of bins, videos. Good info on how to get more involved and educated. Could not find any outside links.
The Groundwater Foundation
This site promotes taking action on protecting our groundwater through educational info on environmentally conscious practices. No links.
Farm and Garden
This site has a very small amount of information on composting, and looks like it has some interesting links. Login required but not enforced for basic info and browsing.

America Recycles Day
Put in on your calendar: November 15! Every year this huge event takes place in hundreds of North American communities.
State and regional composting and recycling associations (U.S. and Canada)
Common Cause Cooperative provides good composting information for the United Kingdom
Missouri University Extension. Nice composting information
The Texas Cooperative Extension (Aggie Horticulture) offers up some very good composting information, especially for kids.

Earth 911 is a great catch-all site for being a planetary citizen. Only one article on composting, written in 2000.
Composting 101 has articles on composting; unfortunately not in-depth.
Florida's Online Composting Center has excellent composting information.



Popular Books (and short reads!)

Home Composting Made Easy by Dr. C. Forrest McDowell & Tricia Clark-McDowell (Cortesia Press, Eugene, OR, 5th edition 2008). Shameless promotion: this 32-page guide is written by the creators of this website! Over one million in print!

Let It Rot! by Stu Campbell. (Storey Communications, Inc., Pownal, Vermont, 1990)

Backyard Composting by Harmonius Technologies. (Harmonious Press, Ojai, California, 1992)

Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof. (Flower Press, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1982)



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