giftfilter: compost guide for a noob
March 8, 2010 3:55 PM   Subscribe

My Mom has a birthday coming up. She's very interested in beginning to compost at her home. Can you recommend a good book, guide, or other handy something something that would be especially handy for an older (retired) noob that I could give as a present?
posted by Ufez Jones to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A nice compost bin, indoor or out. If you'd rather keep it simple and small, the countertop crock is a nice choice regardless of what she ends up putting it in.

Also, worms or a shovel/fork/tool for an outdoor pile.
posted by knile at 4:07 PM on March 8, 2010

This would be the perfect book for your mom. It will teach her everything she needs to know, and more. I've given it to my own mother as a gift.
posted by theperfectcrime at 4:13 PM on March 8, 2010

If your mom won't be offended by the "for dummies" part, Composting for Dummies is a good beginner's guide.
posted by amyms at 4:15 PM on March 8, 2010

A useful, approachable introduction to this kind of thing is The Self Sufficient-ish Bible by Andy and Dave Hamilton. They're British and it's more tailored to the UK than the US, but the book has great photos and diagrams for basic, easy stuff like keeping worms or starting a compost. Totally readable and informal.
posted by cirripede at 4:16 PM on March 8, 2010

Depending on where she lives, your mom's city, county or parks dept may host free composting workshops. In addition to the book, you could include a brochure or info. Not only would this give her hands-on experience, but she would have contacts for help if her compost heap (or bin) goes awry.
posted by annaramma at 4:58 PM on March 8, 2010

We got our mother this one. I will never understand how much pleasure she took from that activity. Some kind of depression-baby thriftiness, I guess.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:48 PM on March 8, 2010

I have the Complete Guide to Composting. I love it.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:54 AM on March 9, 2010

I've had this one for almost 20 years. It's great, but the newer ones are better in terms of design, and I'd suggest you go with the one StickyCarpet recommended. I guess it is a thriftiness mentality, but I am very glad that the veggies we don't consume on time, the coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells get recycled so easily.
posted by tizzie at 7:58 AM on March 9, 2010

Also, one of the smartest things I started to do eventually after years of composting is just keeping a small plastic bin, the kind you use in an office, in my sink to collect bits and pieces to go to the big outdoor bin.
posted by tizzie at 8:03 AM on March 9, 2010

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