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How to Improve Store-Bought Compost


Want to create a compost but don't have enough materials to get started? Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskin of Little House in the Suburbs share how to adapt purchased compost to reflect the richness of homemade compost.

When you buy compost, it's typically harvested from a single source, which could be cows or chickens or mushrooms. This single source limits the amount of nutrients in the compost.

Homemade compost comes from numerous sources—coffee grounds, yard waste, peels and ends from every vegetable you've eaten in the last year, chunks of plants you grew last year—so it will have a billion different nutrients. For that reason, homemade compost is much richer and more effective than store-bought.

However, you can mimic the richness of homemade compost by mixing different kinds of store-bought composts. Here's how:

  1. Buy six different kinds of compost in any varieties you can find—mushroom, chicken, cotton burr, cow, etc. You need only one bag of each variety.
  2. For small jobs, mix a shovel full of each type of compost in a bucket.
  3. For larger jobs, pour the entire contents of each bag on one end of a tarp and roll the compost to the other side of the tarp by lifting the heavy end. This rolling will mix all of the composts together.

This post is excerpted from Little House in the Suburbs by Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskin (Betterway Home, 2012).


Learn the essentials of composting with Composting Inside and Out.

Easily lift and turn your compost pile with this Compost Fork.

Grow your own delicious, affordable, organic edibles with Grow Great Grub.

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