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13 Best Composting Books You Need to Read

Are there any great composting books for both beginners and experts? Certainly yes! If you want to learn more about composting, here are the best books to look for.

Composting is an effective way of not just disposing of household waste material but also converting it into something beneficial for your plants and gardens.

Compost contains nutrients and microbes that improve the health of the soil and make plants thrive. If you can learn to make your own compost, you will make a big difference to both your garden and pockets too.

But because of erroneous assumptions and even misinformation regarding composting, some people are reluctant to try their hand at it.

Fortunately, there are some good composting books out there that are very helpful for beginners and experts alike. These books offer a wide range of practical insights including how to make and use compost.

Best-Of by Category

Category Product
Best Composting Guide for Beginners The Complete Composting Guide for Beginners: Grow Your Own From Home
Best Book on Worm Composting Worms Eat My Garbage, 35th Anniversary Edition
Best Composting Book for Organic Gardeners Composting: How Organic Gardeners Let it Rot and Make Homegrown Humus by Gaia Rodale
Best Book on Composting with Chickens How To Compost With Chickens

Top Composting Books

Below are 12 of the best books on composting you need to read.

1. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide

The complete compost gardening guide

This composting book by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin will help you reconsider how you have been making and using your compost. The book provides a detailed explanation of a six-way compost gardening system developed by the writers, who are experts in soil science.

You will get new insights into how your plants and compost can live together in an environment that promotes healthy growth and sustainability.

In terms of coverage, the authors have tackled the following;

  • How to build bins
  • The tools to use
  • Guidelines for compostable materials
  • Safety tips
  • Innovative composting techniques like underground composting and organics composting

The authors have also shared their own trial-and-error experiences that most readers can relate to. 

The book is written in an easygoing, conversational style. As much as possible, the authors have minimized the use of technical jargon making it easy to understand.

2. How To Compost: Everything You Need To Know To Start Composting, And Nothing You Don’t!

how to compost

In case you are looking for composting books that cut the mound of information on composting and go straight to the point, this is the book for you. It is a quick and to-the-point guide that gives composters the important information they need without boring them with unnecessary niceties.

Written by Lars Hundley, this book covers the following topics;

  • Types of compost bins
  • The advantages and disadvantages of each
  • Essential composting tools and accessories
  • How to balance compost materials
  • Solving common compost problems

This composting book also provides additional references for anyone who would like to expand their knowledge on composting.

Whether you are just looking to create a simple bin in your backyard, or want the latest compost technology, this book has got you covered. Read it and you will be off to a great start, and know which products are compostable and which aren’t.

3. The Complete Composting Guide for Beginners: Grow Your Own From Home

The complete composting guide for beginners

Written by Linda Marsden, this is a 101 class on composting. It provides comprehensive coverage on what composting is, reasons for doing it, and how to go about it especially at home.

So, are you looking for a guide that will get you out of the clueless zone and get you started on composting?  This is one of the composting books you should get right away.

Inside the book, you will get answers to the questions most beginners have, and other additional insights such as:

The information is packaged in a very straightforward manner. For the novice, this is a book you must read. And for the experienced composter, there are a lot of new concepts you can glean from the book to create healthy gardens.

4. Worms Eat My Garbage, 35th Anniversary Edition

worms eat my garbage

This is another incredible composting book written by Mary Appelhof and Joanne Olszewski. It still features as a best seller 35 years after it was written. And the reason is simple; the book’s concepts are as applicable now as they were when it first came out.

It’s also written in a friendly tone which will make you feel like you are having a conversation instead of reading a book. In addition, it’s continually updated with the latest information on how to compost.  

It’s one of the best worm composting books available today. The authors have gone into great detail on how to use worms to convert food waste into nutrient-rich manure for your plants

In case you don’t have space for an outdoor compost pit, this book will give excellent ideas on how to set up an indoor small-scale worm bin. Composting is one way ideal way of preventing environmental pollution.

5. Composting: How Organic Gardeners Let it Rot and Make Homegrown Humus by Gaia Rodale

Composting books

Gaia Rodale is a best-selling author and after reading this composting book, you will understand why. By the time you get to the end of the book, you will be competent enough to identify the right composting system for your garden, set it up, and effectively manage it for great results.

The author has explained clearly how composting works, the different ways to compost, and all the things you need to turn your scraps and waste into black gold for your plants.

Other insights found on this composting book include;

  • The importance of composting
  • What is compostable and what isn’t
  • The concept of worm composting
  • Composting for people with little space
  • How to troubleshoot common composting problems.

Don’t be surprised when your neighbors start coming to you for help. So get your copy now, and with it, expert-status in composting.

See related: 13 Top Environmental Organizations in India

6. Composting Basics: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started

composting basics

What makes this one of the best composting books is the authority of the authors. It is a collaborative effort between two respected experts in this field; Carl Hursh, a recycling and composting consultant; and Patti Olenick, a soil scientist and sustainability coordinator.

So expect numerous solid gems on how to recycle your household scraps and waste to make compost for your plants.

Apart from demystifies many misconceptions about composting, this composting book will give you all the practical insights you need to make quality compost. Soon enough, you will be converting your household waste into black gold.

The book is easy to read and follow. It is also filled with many images that give vivid illustrations for your benefit. The book is highly recommended for any beginner who is lost on where to get good information on composting.

7. Composting Made Easy – A Complete Guide To Composting At Home

composting made easier

If you wish to convert your household waste into black gold, look no further than this book by Jason Johns.

In this updated second edition, the author provides a ground-up, step-by-step guide to setting up your compost bin. It also has new information on the latest composting methods for the best results.

This is one of the composting books ideal for anyone who wishes to know details behind the production of nutrient-rich compost. You need not be envious of your neighbor’s vegetables anymore because the secret is contained on these pages.

Reading this book will also help you discover:

  • The benefits of composting at home
  • How to use compost in your garden
  • What is safe to compost and what isn’t
  • The correct ratio of materials
  • The common mistakes to avoid when composting

8. Composting Secrets: The Beginners Guide To Turning Old Scraps Into Great Soil

composting secrets

In this simple step-by-step guide, David Yoder takes you on a comprehensive composting journey from the beginning to the end product. He is clear and precise. He doesn’t bog you down with useless information just to fill the pages. 

The instructions are easy to follow and retain, making it a must-have composting book on your shelf.

It is the ideal composting book for beginners and the experienced alike as it covers the following areas:

  • The basics of building a quality compost pile needs
  • The materials to put in your compost bin and what you shouldn’t
  • Common compost problems and how to diagnose  them
  • Additional 50 tips for superior compost

If you’re not big on reading and want a quick and easy way to learn composting, this book won’t disappoint. Start composting successfully with this starter booklet.

9. Let it Rot!: The Gardener’s Guide to Composting (Third Edition)

composting books: let  it rot

If you are looking for some of the best composting books, this one should be on your list. It breaks down composting in a way that makes it feel much more accessible and easy to do.

The author uses a very thorough approach, ensuring that by the end of it, you will be ready to compost. It helps you to transform your household waste, scraps, grass, and leaves into a gardener’s gold. Soon after, you will find yourself not just minimizing waste and keeping the environment clean, but also saving and enjoying bumper harvests.

Most books on a technical subject like this are a pain to read because of their officious and monotonous tone. But, not this one! It is written in a very funny and captivating manner while remaining informative.

It is not a wonder that it is still highly sought after even though the first edition came out in 1975. Both beginners and experts will benefit from this composting book.

See related: Plastic Pollution

10. Composting: Sustainable and Low-Cost Techniques for Beginners

composting book for beginners

Have you ever wondered why those majestic trees and thick bushes in forests thrive without any chemical fertilizers? And yet your garden plants are on the verge of death even after adding countless pounds of chemical fertilizers? The answers to these questions are in this composting book.

Janet Wilson has done a good job of dispelling myths about composting. She makes it appear as what it is – cheap, safe, and easy to do.

Her book will help you:

  • Pick the ideal composting system for your garden or home
  • Get the right proportion of ingredients
  • Deal with composting challenges like rotting, funny smells, or dying out altogether
  • Know how to go about worm composting

Are you ready to be an expert composter? Grab your copy now and dutifully follow the step-by-step guidelines and your plants will thank you in a few weeks!

11. Composting for a New Generation: Latest Techniques for the Bin and Beyond

composting for a new generation

This is one of themost comprehensive books on composting organics available and one of the best gardening books for beginners. It simplifies the complex science behind composting setting readers on their way to become successful composters.

The authors, Michelle Balz and Anna Stockton, have used layman’s terms to initiate newbies into this world of composting.  In the book, they have provided solid information on different composting methods that are tried and true for successful composting.

They have even gone a step further to include new, innovative approaches and gardening methods that can be combined for incredible results.

Everything- from traditional bin composting and trench composting, to keyhole gardens and organics composting– has been covered in depth.

And although it is one of those composting books that are targeted at people who want to do composting on a small scale, operators of large facilities will find it incredibly useful as well.

12. The Rodale Book of Composting, Newly Revised and Updated

the rodale book of composting

Aptly christened the composting textbook, this is one of the best books to learn composting. This is because it contains in-depth and detailed coverage of everything a composter ought to know.

It describes the history behind composting and goes on to cover the methods and science of composting. The readers are, therefore, able to get a complete picture of what composting is all about.

If you are looking for comprehensive composting books, you need to read this one. It delves into the science behind what goes on in compost such as the chemical reactions taking place and other exciting things that happen behind the scenes. It also touches on the new techniques, technology, and equipment that make composting easier.

Although it might get a bit technical and detailed, beginners will find it incredibly helpful. On the other hand, those who are experienced will find it fascinating and insightful.

13. How To Compost With Chickens

how to compost with chickens

This book by Leigh Tate is one of the most elaborate composting books on how to use chickens for composting. In about 32 pages, the author discusses the importance of working smarter by partnering with chickens to make good compost.

The author also shares an enlightening explanation on why chickens are probably the best animals for compost making.

By the end of the book, you will have learned how to accommodate chickens in the compost-making process. It gives you details on how to combine these two things – the basics of feeding chickens and the concept of composting.

You will also find more details on;

  • Chicken composting systems
  • Considerations for breed selection
  • Additional materials to be included in your compost
  • A glossary and list of resources

And since all homesteads are different, you will also find information on the important things to consider when trying to adapt this concept to your situation.


What is the best composting method for beginners?

Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter into nutrient-rich soil. The best composting method for beginners is vermicomposting, which uses worms to break down organic waste.

It is easy to set up and maintain, and produces high-quality compost quickly. Another benefit of vermicomposting is that it can be done indoors, making it a great option for those with limited outdoor space.

What are five items you should not compost?

Composting is the process of breaking down organic material into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Five items you should not compost include meat and dairy products, oils and fats, pet waste, diseased plants, and weeds that have gone to seed. These items can attract pests, emit unpleasant odors, and introduce harmful pathogens or weed seeds into your compost pile.

What is the most effective composting method?

The most effective composting method is a combination of both aerobic and anaerobic processes. Aerobic composting involves the use of oxygen to break down organic matter, while anaerobic composting occurs in the absence of oxygen.

A balanced mix of both methods can produce high-quality compost in a shorter amount of time, while also minimizing unpleasant odors and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the first rule of composting?

Is the first rule of composting is to create a proper balance of carbon-rich “brown” materials and nitrogen-rich “green” materials. This balance will help to ensure that the composting process proceeds at an optimal rate and produces high-quality compost.

Additionally, it is important to maintain the proper moisture level and turn the compost regularly to ensure that air is able to circulate and the materials decompose evenly.

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