Backyard Composting and Vermicomposting Resources and Links
The US Composting Council recognizes that composting is occurring at a variety of different levels across the US; from the homeowners composting some leaves and food scraps in their back yards, to the commercial facilities composting 1000s of cubic yards per year. It’s all good and it’s all part of our national composting infrastructure.
This page on our website is intended to be a reference source of information for the smaller, ‘backyard’ compost producer. We have searched the annals of available information on this topic and have listed links to those sites which we think provide useful and practical information on backyard composting, vermicomposting and some items on Master Gardener programs.
This is a great place to begin your search for information. It’s an introductory explanation on creating a compost pile in your backyard or indoors, depending on space: http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
This link build on the basics provided above and focuses on backyard composting:
This link examines the basics of composting with worms, or vermicomposting:
CalRecycle (formerly the California Integrated Waste Management Board) produced this 27 page booklet containing a set of do-it-yourself compost bin designs for both backyard composting and vermicomposting. It contains detailed information on materials, tools and composting bin design: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Publications/Organics/44295054.pdf
City of San Jose, California
San Jose is very active in recycling and composting. Their website provides information and links to backyard composting, vermicomposting and master gardener programs. Their main page is: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?NID=1510
The Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Master Gardener site has a variety of downloadable fact sheets and Q&A sections on compost production, structures, use and gardening at: http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/LARIMER/mg020921.htm
This is Florida’s Backyard Composting Tutorial and Information Website. It’s a wealth of information and instructions on the science and practical application of backyard composting. There are many links contained within this site:
It’s important to recognize how widespread composting is, even in paradise! The cooperative extension service at the University of Hawaii publishes this brief, but helpful pamphlet on the topic:
A 20 page booklet covering a variety of gardening and recycling topics can be found at:
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is the state agency responsible for recycling, composting and mulching. They have several publications available for downloading at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/waste/recycling/organics/. The website also provides list of Iowa’s compost and recycled mulch producers, and a troubleshooting guide to recycled mulch use: http://www.iowadnr.gov/waste/recycling/mulch/index.html
The Louisiana State University Ag Center provides a 20 page handbook, ‘Backyard Composting – Waste to Resource’ on their site at: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/environment/conservation/composting/backyard/Backyard+Composting++Wastes+to+Resources.htm
There’s also a 2 page troubleshooting guide available at: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonlyres/BCC96EDA-75F7-4F08-9C81-1ADA8C167D49/2182/pub2517compost2.pdf
The Maine State Planning Office is tasked with assisting municipalities (and residents) in their efforts to improve recycling and composting performance. They provide detailed booklets on yard and food waste composting and a downloadable PDF on vermicomposting: http://www.maine.gov/spo/recycle/residents/composting.htm.
They also provide links for more information on a variety of composting related topics: http://www.maine.gov/spo/recycle/links.htm#composting
Washtenaw County provides information on composting hows and whys, including equipment and bins, as well as a Master Composter program. Check out their program here.
The University of Minnesota Extension Service has material on-line regarding soil health and backyard composting:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/GardenInfo/components/info_soils.html They also have a well established Master Gardener program.
The University of Missouri provides very easy to follow directions on building compost bins of various construction, as well as links to backyard compost production at: http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6957
The Missouri Department of natural resources also provides information and PDF downloads on all things composting at: http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/composting/compost1.htm
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality provides downloadable PDFs on home composting and also a few links to other sites at: http://www.deq.state.mt.us/Recycle/backyard_composting.mcpx
This is the Rutgers University site. It contains 3 very useful, downloadable PDFs on Backyard Leaf Composting, Home Composting and Vermicomposting: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs/search.asp?cat=5&searchstring=backyard+composting&submit=Go%21
They also have information on Master Gardeners at: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs/publication.asp?pid=FS691
The Bernalillo County (NM) Extension Master Composters have been educating local citizens on the science, art, materials, methods and benefits of home composting in the desert. You are welcome to visit our website: www.nmcomposters.org
The Cornell Waste Management Institute operates this website. It contains a variety of different links to educational resources aimed at both people interested in composting at their homes, schools, or business and others who want to promote small scale composting: http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/smallscale.htm
This is the website of the North Carolina Composting Association, a state affiliate of the USCC. It contains links to backyard and to vermicomposting information, as well as links to other related sites. The backyard composting link is: http://www.carolinacompost.com/backyardcomposting
The vermicomposting link is: http://www.carolinacompost.com/vermicomposting
The Ohio State University maintains a Composting at Home fact sheet that reviews the basics of compost bin design and composting practices. It is: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1189.html. Their home page containing
links to facts sheets and other composting topics is: http://compost.css.cornell.edu/Composting_homepage.html
The University of Oregon maintains this very diverse site that contains information and links to a variety of resources both within their site and across the nation: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~recycle/Composting.htm
The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP) offers a multi-page ‘booklet’ to composting grass, leaves and other organics generated in the home, as well as providing some links to other resources: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/wm/recycle/Compost/Home1.htm
Rick Stehouwer, Ph.D. from Penn State University’s Environmental Science and Research program in the College of Agriculture, has created an excellent PowerPoint presentation on composting. Go to this website and then click on Composting is Recycling Naturally to review and download: http://backyardcompost.cas.psu.edu/howiscompostmade/how_is_compost_made.html
The Texas A&M University system maintains this site which contain links and PDF downloads and brief videos on a variety of composting related topics including backyard and vermicomposting, soil sampling and general gardening issues: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/ot_soilcompost.htm
The Washington State University Cooperative Extension Service maintains a very helpful website containing information on backyard and kitchen waste composting, compost uses and composting health and safety issues at:
There are an almost limitless number of company and private composting sites that are easy to find on the internet. We have listed above only those sites affiliated with universities, professional organizations and those that are affiliated with state or municipalities, that provide impartial information. There are a few private sites, however, that are worth visiting:
This long-time website provides unbiased information on a variety of composting topics including processes, equipment, vermicomposting and much more: http://www.mastercomposter.com/
This relatively new site is a very good compilation from a variety of sources, including a link to National Geographic’s Green Guide Video on home composting: http://www.improvenet.com/a/guide-to-composting-at-home