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9 Composting Methods You Need To Master

by Idris Ya'u
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%

There are several composting methods of composting and this article gives a detailed explanation of each composting method and all you need to know about each.

Before we start, here are some recommended composting products:

Recommended Composting Products

  1. CompostTumbler, buy here on Amazon
  2. Composting Grinder, buy here on Amazon
  3. Gardening gloves, buy here on Amazon

Keep reading for the different composting methods.

1) Open Air Composting

This is traditionally referred to as a pile of green and brown matter which can be found in your backyard. Wire cages can also be used inlaid with piping around the edges.

This helps to hold water and capture heat as well. This can be useful for hot water systems in sustainability situations. Open-air composting is regarded as a hot composting method. Cold composting on the other hand, contains smaller amounts of waste and cold composting does not build up the same amount of heat.

2) Direct Composting

This type of composting involves digging a hole or trench in the ground and having your scraps buried in the hole or trench. This type of composting method is seen as the oldest but the most effective.

Notwithstanding, it also has its limitations. A limitation is that it requires a long time to decompose. Also, more holes will be needed to be dug. However, it gives an abundance of worms which will help in nourishing your garden and also, improve your soil.

3) Worm Farm Composting

This method of composting is also common and effective. Not only does it grow worms, it produces compost and compost tea and it also, keeps rats out of your compost.

In worm farm composting, the worms produce castings concentrated with nutrients lower in nitrogen when compared with other composting methods. Never make use of metal containers to house your worms as copper leaches out and this is quite toxic to your worms. Always ensure the containers in which the worms are kept are in the right conditions. If not, the worms will try to find their way out and escape.

4) EMO Composting

This is also known as Effective Microorganisms Composting. This method is generally used for indoor composting. Notwithstanding, it can be used by anyone who prefers it to other methods.

The most common product in this composting method is the Bokashi, however, other indoor systems can make use of it. Also, there are certain systems which use carbon filter in the lid to filter odours.

One important thing to take note of is that you can’t put everything from your kitchen in the Bokashi system. EMO can be used in other systems if desired so as to aid the composting process.

5) Combination Composting

This is otherwise referred to as Compost Composting. It is a combination method of open-air composting, direct composting, vermicomposting, and EMO composting. This composting method is faster and less work is required compared to other composers. Also, it used all the wastes to nourish the soil.

6) Tumbler Composting

This type of composting is available in several shapes and sizes of single to double units which can purchased. Most people see this system as a great system if you are capable of turning it in every day or perhaps, every few days.

You can however, get mechanized ones which make turning quite easier. Two of these systems are often needed so that you can allow one to sit for a few months to fully decompose before emptying it.

While this is going on, you can fill the second one up. This is often seen as a good system if there is a large amount of green and brown waste to dispose of and the space to fit this system is also available.

7) Commercial Composting

This is not the same with backyard composting and quite different. Also, it uses different materials. In this system, the compost is made in long rows using materials such as sand, sawdust, pine bark, with ferrous sulphate and probably some sulphate ammonia all mixed together.

This method of composting requires turning most times every 3 – 4 days and is generally ready in 6 weeks or thereabouts for bagging. Cheap commercial compost do not contain much nutrient value.

However, there are small independent commercial compost companies which produce a better quality product compared to large commercial compost companies. However, they are more expensive. Cheaper commercial compost soil serves as good filler for raised beds or you can use it to backfill a compost in sandy or clay soil.

You can also have it mixed with composted soil to fill a pot plant. If purchasing a commercial-grade compost, ensure to get a high-quality propagation mix.

8) Mechanical Composting

This method is quite efficient and makes use of electricity to create the heat required and rotation of the contents needed to produce semi-composted waste literally within a day.

This system is ideal for restaurants, hotels, hospitals or any large institution where large amounts of waste are created. There is however, a need to further compost the waste thus, there is a need to collect the leftover contents for further composting in a garden bed and likewise, a bay composting system.

9) Sheet Mulch

This is similar to trench composting. It is just like an inverted trench compost system. It is good for the permaculture gardener with a plan of where and how they would prefer to utilize their yard space for gardening.

In sheet mulch, the most important materials are: food scraps, dry carbon materials, and a rake. Other materials such as selected seedlings, existing compost e.t.c are optional.

The sheet mulch method requires only very little digging and no turning. Also, it smothers weeds and it is drought resistant. However, it requires yard space, levels of carbon and more green materials that might be available at a time. Also, it can be unattractive and can attract slugs, as well as other pests.


This article serves as a guide to selecting your composting method for your home use or business purposes and as well as the environment. Most of the damaging effects are as a result of methane produced in large council tips and methane is not ideal for the environment. Thus, it is best to keep your wastes out of the council tips so as to reduce methane wastes which will ultimately help the environment.

Further Reading

  1. Comparative effectiveness of different composting methods on the stabilization, maturation and sanitization of municipal organic solid wastes and dried faecal sludge mixtures
  2. Composting process: a review
  3. Comparative Study of Different Techniques of Composting and their Stability Evaluation in Municipal Solid Waste

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