Just like people, plants need food in order to thrive and grow. One of the best and easiest ways to feed your plants is to mix a good amount of nutrient rich compost into the soil. You can purchase compost at most garden stores, but you can also make your own compost out of kitchen scraps. This not only feeds your garden, but it also adds rich hummus to the soil which helps the soil retain moisture and it keeps kitchen scraps out of landfills.
Compost Bin: There are many different kinds of compost bins. I have found that bins where the compost is on bare earth do the best. However, not everyone has a property where this is possible.
What to put in your compost: All compostable materials are either carbon or nitrogen-based. In order to have a healthy, productive compost pile you need to maintain an appropriate carbon/nitrogen balance.
Nitrogen Rich (sometimes called greens): manures, kitchen scraps, green lawn clippings, tea bags and green leaves
Carbon Rich (sometimes called browns): dried leaves, branches, bits of wood, shredded brown paper bags, paper towels, corn stalks, coffee filters, egg shells, straw, peat moss
I tend to add a layer of carbon rich material on top of each layer of nitrogen rich material I add. This cuts down on any smell. Too much nitrogen rich materials makes the compost decompose slowly and quite smelly.
What NOT to put in your compost: Meat, bones (to use bones in your garden look at the Bone Meal section), fish, weeds, diseased plants, pet (dog or cat) manure, thick layers of green grass (it will clump).
Caring for your compost: Composting is pretty easy, but it does require some regular maintenance.
Turning: Turning your compost every couple of weeks will help to get more oxygen into your pile which helps with decomposition.
Wetting: It is important to periodically wet your compost if there is no rain. You want your compost to have the moisture of a wrung out sponge.