Master Composter display booth

Compost outreach display, Tompkins County

Master composter volunteer (right) shows contents of worm composting bin to Nathalie Smallidge, Stephanie Terwilliger, Annie Seichepin & Adelaide Smallidge at Farm City Day 2005
Image by Sandy Repp

Vermicomposting (with worms) in a bin

Vegetable parings
Image by Diligent

From vegetable scraps ... the finished product! Rich brown compost is easy to make!

Compost heap on a frosty morning. The rising steam shows that the bacterial action in the compost heap is exothermic.
Image by Andrew Dunn

to the compost heap...

Compost Resources

The following resources were developed by the Compost Education Program at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County.

General Information

Quick Start Guide to Compost (PDF) (8 pp, 2.6M)
Covers all the basics of what is compost, why compost, where to compost, what to compost, how to compost and using compost. All the key info in one place!

Home Composting Brochure (PDF) (4 pp, 395K)
An excellent resource available on the Cornell Waste Management Institute's web site that touches on about everything. "The Essentials of Composting" section is very helpful.

Basics & Benefits of Composting (PDF) (1 p, 374K)
What is compost and why is it so useful when used as mulch, in the garden or in potting mixtures?

Indoor Prep for Better Compost (PDF) (2 pp, 559K)
Helpful tips for kitchen management.

Outdoor Composting

6 Steps to Compost (PDF) (1p, 412K)
Get started! Follow these six steps to set up and manage a backyard compost.

Choose Your Compost Bin (PDF 697K)
Consider the many options available for your compost bin, and choose the one that meets your needs.

Welded Wire Bin for Compost (PDF) (1 p, 451K)
A popular, effective and low-cost bin for composting.

Lasagna Layering for Easy Compost (PDF) (2 pp, 473K)
The layering technique that minimizes maintenance, deters pests and speeds composting!

Troubleshooting Your Compost (PDF) (2 pp, 258K)
Describes symptoms, possible causes and solutions for the most common composting problems.

Leaf Composting (PDF) (1 p, 120K)
Five ways to use leaves to more effectively garden and compost.

Winter Composting (PDF) (1 p, 197K)
How to extend the life of your outdoor composting well into the cold season.

Indoor Composting with a Worm Bin

Indoor Worm Compost (1 p,  453K)
It's easy to get started with worm composting! This one-pager tells you how.

Standard version (PDF) (4 pp, 211K)
For easier viewing and printing on 8 1/2" by 11" paper.

Brochure to fold (PDF) (2 pp, 209K)
Sizing best if you print (back-to-back) on legal paper, then fold.

Sources of Composting Worms (PDF) (1 p, 292K)
Where to get composting worms for vermicomposting.

"Stealth" (Indoor) Composting (PDF) (1 p, 342K)
An indoor composting system that defies detection!

More Compost Topics

Testing for Finished Compost (PDF) (2 pp, 599K)
Several simple tests you can do to test compost maturity.

Using Compost (PDF) (2 pp, 297K)
Outlines many ways you can use your "black gold" for soil improvement.

Group Compositing (PDF) (1 p, 252K)
Ten steps to success for households, schools, businesses or other interested groups.

Cornell Waste Management Institute

Visit Cornell University's Waste Management Institute for information on small and large scale composting, mortality and on-farm composting, health and safety of compost, and find a map to locate compost demonstration sites and facilities in New York State.


Susan Beebe
Assistant Director/ Agriculture Issue Leader
518-885-8995 ext. 2231

Last updated January 13, 2020