Compost Zodiac

What kind of composter are you?

By Scott Meyer and Beth Huxta


compostingYour garden's future is revealed not by looking at the stars, your palm, or tea leaves but by looking in your compost pile. We've seen countless bins, tumblers, and heaps, talked to the gardeners who filled them, and classified them all into this zodiac. Then we asked experts for hints about how to make the most of your composting style. Whether you are detail-oriented or devil-may-care, a master decomposer or a total newbie, we predict you will strike it rich—with black gold, the best soil builder for your flower and vegetable beds.

The Slacker

Profile: You dump and run, emptying the kitchen scrap bucket only when the stink or the fruit flies overwhelm you. You think you turned your pile once. You think.

Advice: Lucky for you, "compost happens," says Lewis Shell, compost instructor with the Maryland Home and Garden Information Center. You can toss items onto the pile whenever you have them, and you'll get finished compost in about a year. If one day you are struck with a small burst of motivation, get a 2- to 3-foot length of PVC pipe, punch a few holes into it (or easier yet, get perforated pipe), and stick it into your pile. It will bring air to the middle of the pile, which is what those overachievers are doing when they turn their piles.

What's Your Sign?

Turn kitchen scraps into super-fertile soil!  Learn more.

New for your e-reader or tablet: Compostology 1-2-3.