How to make super fast compost


How to make the world's fastest compost
Here's your solution to all those grass clippings!

By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul


Tom Hanks' "Power of Four" solution

More good stuff:

Marion's online catalog

Who is Marion Owen?

FAQs about PlanTea

Search Marion's articles, tips and recipes

Why grow organic?

News and press releases

Read love letters

How to link to this site

Need a speaker?

How to contact Marion

Visiting Alaska?
Come to Kodiak Island!

Go to home page

Gardening newsletter
Marion's UpBeet Gardener
has been
replaced by Marion's blog
which you can find at:


One day, my husband, the local harbormaster, called from the office. "The guys are mowing the lawns around the harbor building and they want to know if you want the grass clippings."

Does a duck like water? I told him yes.

That evening he arrived with 10 bags of clippings. Uh oh, even too much of a good thing can mean trouble. I didn't have enough leaves to mix with the clippings. Without something to fluff up grass clippings, they'll turn to green goo or an impermeable" felt" within days, eventually becoming an stinky mess. You know what I'm talking about.

What's a desperate gardener to do?

Well, I had several bags of dry, brown peat moss laying around. (You can also use "cleanings" from local horse stables that contains straw or sawdust, cow manure--you get the picture), so after dinner, I put them to work.

compost materialscompost materials
Grass clippings (left) and peat moss (right)

The ideal mix for a compost pile is 1 part nitrogen (N) materials like grass clippings to 3 parts carbon (C) brown stuff like leaves, straw or--you guessed it--peat moss. In this case I mixed them in equal portions, sprinkling the materials with water as I went. In just 3 days the temperature reached 160 degrees (F)! Over the next 10 days, I turned the pile a couple times. Soon afterwards, the pile had cooked down enough to add it to the garden as a mulch.

Yes, necessity IS the mother of invention. For many Americans, a lush green lawn is a matter of pride (and a weekend chore), which generates tons of grass clippings. Composting the grass clippings provides a quick solution to an abundance of grass clippings and remember, it is a healthy mulch for your garden. [To learn how to use compost and make it year-round, read my Compost Happens! article.]

Wait, there's more! Meet the EcoLawn...

Another solution, of course, is to not have so much space devoted to lawns in the first place. And... there is the EcoLawn, a line of seed mixes developed by Oregon State University and Hobbs and Hopkins in Portland, Oregon.

The company’s flagship product is called Fleur de Lawn. Fleur, French for flower, is a blend of frilly-leafed yarrow, multi-colored English daisies, and strawberry clover. The clover naturally replenishes nitrogen in the soil so you don’t need to add fertilizers. And you don't have to mow as often! For more info about alternative lawns, visit this web site:

Want a challenge? Add to the list of 163 Things You Can Compost!

Thanks for visiting and please stop by again. I'll put the coffee on!

Meet Marion Owen /// Learn about PlanTea /// Online Catalog /// Articles, Tips, Recipes /// Get free UpBeet Gardener newsletter /// Read current issue /// Listen to radio show /// Read news and press releases /// More resources and links /// Learn why 'grow organic?' /// View guidelines for retailers /// Read love letters /// Book Marion as a speaker /// Site map /// How to link to us /// Contact us
/// Go to home page

PlanTea: The organic plant food in tea bags.
Copyright 1996 to present: PlanTea, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PO Box 1980, Kodiak, AK 99615-1980 USA
Questions or comments? Phone: Toll Free: 1-800-253-6331 (US and Canada); 907-486-2500