Composting FAQs

Care and How To

Composting is the best way to dispose of your yard and garden wastes.  Plus, it can be used to improve the growing conditions in your garden!

Compost is decomposed plant material.  When fully composted, the final product resembles soil and while it can provide small amounts of nutrients, its most important function is to increase the organic matter content of the soil. Adding compost to garden soil improves soil structure by making it more granular. Building up organic matter in soil increases both its water-holding capacity and its productive ability. Plants growing in such soil can better withstand drought conditions. Composting is very sustainable allowing you to reduce the amount of waste that must be hauled off-site.  By keeping and using organic wastes on-site, there is no need to spend time, energy, or resources to haul waste or soil amendments back and forth from your garden.

Compost is sometimes referred to as "black gold" because of how valuable it is in your garden.  Thankfully, unlike gold, it doesn't cost a lot to create or use.  

Below are resources and frequently asked questions on composting.  

Composting Resources

Composting yard waste publication

Composting Yard Waste

Questions about composting pub

Questions About Composting

Composting fall leaves video

Composting Fall Leaves

Manure in wheelbarrow by gabort Adobestock

Using Manure in the Home Garden

Worm compost By Natalia AdobeStock

How to Create and Use Vermicompost

Composting FAQs

What Can Be Put in a Compost Pile


Aaron Steil Consumer Horticulture Extension Specialist

Aaron Steil is the consumer horticulture extension specialist at Iowa State University where he works with county Extension offices across the state to answer home gardening questions for all Iowans.  This includes information related to trees, shrubs, vegetables, fruits, herbs, perennials, ...

Last Reviewed: 
November, 2023