Composting For Dummies
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You need very little equipment to start composting. Before you buy, visit garden centers or home improvement and hardware stores and try out some hand tools. Their length and weight should be comfortable for you to wield over extended periods of turning or shoveling organic matter. The basic tools to get you started composting are

  • Compost fork or pitchfork: Long, thin tines allow you to hoist and toss large loads of organic matter efficiently.

  • Shovel or spade: These tools help you turn almost-finished compost or incorporate finished compost into your garden. If you already own either one, you’re set.

  • Hose and spray nozzle: Moisture is an essential component of a fast-acting compost pile. Your hose should reach easily from the outdoor faucet to your compost area. Add an adjustable nozzle that allows you to fine-tune the spray level, and turn it off to conserve water while you’re adding or mixing organic matter.

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Cathy Cromell is a writer and editor who's written extensively about gardening and landscaping. She is a certified master gardener, master composter, and master entomologist. The National Gardening Association is the leading garden-based educational nonprofit organization in the United States, providing resources at and

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