Epic Compost Failure 101

It was Earth Day yesterday.  I always try to do my ‘less fun’ gardening chores on Earth Day, instead the usual ‘playing, planting and enjoying’ the garden. Somehow, it makes me mindful that I’m giving back to my garden.

Yesterday’s chore? Flipping the 5 foot high compost pile.

In Dallas, I had a three piled system. One pile was new debris. One was composting. One was delicious compost ready to be used. My compost pile was glorious. So rich and beautiful, even my toddler loved to eat it ….gross!!!! (that’s a whole other story).

This pile that I set out to flip yesterday is a fairly young pile. I had made mental plans where the compost would go, and how much I’d have etc…. Heirloom bulbs love an nice layer of rich compost, especially during growing season. It also keeps the bulbs cool during the hot summer months.

When I got to the bottom of the pile, I found nothing. NO  COMPOST!! I couldn’t believe my eyes……


So……what happened?  What did I do wrong? Here are a few tips to ensure that you, too, can fail at the simple task of composting.

-Never ever water your compost. Infact, the drier it is, the more of a failure your pile will become.

-Always let your children dump the kitchen waste. This will ensure the scraps will not get buried properly, and sit on the top of the pile attracting insects and animals.

-Never add anything green. New plant debris and clippings are crucial to the health of a compost pile, so keep them out.

-Always add large sticks and other awkward debris that makes the pile very challenging to flip. That will ensure that the pile doesn’t get flipped……ever.

-Add only brown material. Yep…..This is an awesome way to store your debris that will take forever to break down (see guideline one again)

After much thought, I’ve realized…..it’s kinda hard to actually fail at composting. I should feel very pleased with myself  that I beat the odds at failing at the simple concept of:


Cheers, my friends. May you smile at your gardening mishaps, and learn to enjoy the process, as we all strive to make this world a lovelier place to call home.