Making compost doesn't have to be complicated. This segment shows two different ways of composting. Choose the style that fits you best!

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Composting - Two Methods

There’s two methods to composting. The first is called the batch system. It’s almost like baking a cake. Gather all your materials at one time – the browns and the greens. You layer it and add water. And you leave that pile intact until it’s finished. That’s called the batch method.

The other one is a continual method where you just continue to add material. As you turn it, the compost then filters down to the base. So, you never have a whole batch or pile finished at one time.

Both methods work. It really depends on your system. The average backyard composter probably tends to be more passive and tends to let it go. And, the continual added method does work.

If you build a batch at one time, and it works well, about two weeks later the volume in the bin will decrease by about half. It heats up and implodes on itself. However, with the passive where you’re not doing much to it, it just sits there until it rains or mother nature intervenes to let it break down.

The bottom line is, compost happens no matter whether you manage it or not. It’s really what fits your schedule, and how you want to manage composting. There’s an art, and there’s a science to composting. You need to figure out what works best in your backyard, and then make it work for you.

This feature story prepared with Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Johnson County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at


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