How to Compost Tea and other Organics in a Home Compost Pile

Starting a compost pile in your backyard is a simple and effective way to lower your home’s impact on the planet. Not only does it significantly reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, but it provides an outstanding source of nutrient-rich soil, which might facilitate you growing your own hyper-local food. And if composting became the norm, it would also lessen the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by garbage trucks and trash processing facilities. So let’s get started!

Compost Bin

Building your own compost bin at home can be simple!

The first thing you’re going to need is a place to start piling up your compostable materials. This can either be on the bare earth, or on pavement. If you choose to have your compost pile on pavement, you’ll want to put a couple of inches of moist dirt on the bottom as a base layer for your compost pile – this helps to retain moisture, which is very important for the composting process (Source: Although not entirely necessary, many people choose to construct or buy a compost bin – something to keep the composting area tidy and prevent any animals from searching for food in your pile. This can be as big or as small as you’d like, depending on how much compostable material you will have available. It’s very easy to construct a compost bin out of materials like chicken wire, shipping pallets, cinder blocks – whatever you’ve got!

The next thing you’ll need is stuff to compost! This includes tea, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, breads and cereals, twigs and leaves, and even newspaper scraps. And of course, now you can even compost Arbor Teas’ new packaging material right in your own backyard!  You’ll want to mix up the materials as much as possible to make it easier for the organisms responsible for decomposition to get everything they need to grow and decompose your organic material. If you’re having trouble getting the process started, try adding a few shovels-worth of soil or a small amount of commercial fertilizer to the mix. Most soil already contains living organisms that will decompose organic material, and a half-cup of fertilizer per 10 inches of compost material will help them have enough high-nitrogen material to grow rapidly (source: USDA). If you live in a place that is very dry or very moist, you might want to cover your pile to lock-in or keep out moisture – a happy medium of humidity is best when it comes to composting. And make sure that you turn your compost pile regularly – this helps provide the microorganisms with oxygen that catalyzes the process.

There are a few things you should avoid putting in your backyard compost pile. These include meat scraps (which will attract many wild animals), diseased plants (which could taint your soil), and weed plants (which could rapidly take over your pile).

This method of backyard composting should take a few months to produce usable soil, with some slight variance depending on the temperature and what materials you’re composting (for instance, Arbor Teas’ backyard compostable packaging will take 4 to 6 months to breakdown completely). This soil will be great for use in a garden, or as mulch to place around trees to help keep the ground moist. No matter how you choose to use it, you can be confident that you disposed of your organic materials responsibly!

July 18 2010 03:34 pm | Sustainability

8 Responses to “How to Compost Tea and other Organics in a Home Compost Pile”

  1. Erica on 02 Aug 2010 at 7:25 am #

    I got my first Arbor Teas in the new compostable packing in the earth day sale. The packages went into my compost pile and by the time I turned the pile in July there was no longer any sign of them. Nice job!

  2. Chris Kmotorka on 08 Aug 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    I’ve been composting for a while. I started with modified trash cans that were more anaerobic, but they worked, albeit slowly. I have since made a tumbling composter that works much faster as long as I keep a good balance of brown/green materials. Loose tea and tea bags and packaging all go into my compost–interestingly enough, the clear lining of tea bag wrappers don’t really break down so when I screen my compost I end up pulling out lots of little plastic squares!

  3. Deborah Ullman on 09 Aug 2010 at 4:53 am #

    My family always threw food wastes out both to feed the raccoons and possums and to develop a compost heap for enriching the gardens, two separate activities. But we never built a composting system. I gave my dad the promise of building such a system for his birthday one year when he was 96. Never did. He’s gone now but your blurb inspires me to follow through and dedicate it to his memory! Thank you – it doesn’t need to be a pricey ugly plastic bin – maybe a few cement blocks, some boards and chicken wire. (I like your picture – wish I had your architect and carpenter!) And thanks for making your packaging compostable!

  4. Christina on 09 Aug 2010 at 9:15 am #

    Great post! I just finished a Master Composting course – thanks for writing about one of the best things to do for your garden! One thing I might add is that if you chop up the things you put in your pile into small pieces, they will decompose faster.

  5. Michael on 09 Aug 2010 at 10:14 am #

    The tumbling composters do the best job, if you can afford one. I have a SunMar that makes compost in just a couple of weeks. The new bags (Bravo! to Arbor on these) broke down very quickly. I’m just so delighted that I can now get Fair Trade, organic tea in a compostable bag. What could be better?

  6. Brit-Simone Sutter on 15 Aug 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Thank you for the great composting article. Composting truly is an easy process that has so many benefits.

    Once you create the habit of composting organic scraps, it becomes part of your daily kitchen activities.

    I posted a link to this article on my blog at

    Thank you!

  7. Well being living. » Composting Is Good and Easy! on 18 Aug 2010 at 11:23 am #

    [...] out this great article on composting from Arbor Teas. by admin in Food no comment [...]

  8. Crystal on 28 Mar 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    I just pile my compost right on the ground. It works very well. I layer the food scraps with leaves, twigs, grass clippings, shredded newspaper and such. I turn it regularly (just move it a few feet each time) as well as water it with the hose. Every now and then I add a few worms from my worm composting bin. I usually have 2 or 3 piles going at any time.

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