Free Book Giveaway: Win a Copy of The Mini Farm Guide to Composting

Mini Farm Guide to Composting at Happy Simple Living blog

If you’ve got a certifiable case of Spring Gardening Fever, I’ve got a book that will help. The Mini Farming Guide to Composting: Self-Sufficiency from Your Kitchen to Your Backyard by Brett L. Markham is a comprehensive guide to making your own rich, cost-effective compost. Markham makes a compelling case that the best way to enjoy enhanced nutrition and save money with a home garden is to make your own soil-enhancing compost.

I wholeheartedly agree. While we don’t do it on a large scale here, we do get enormous satisfaction in the cycle of composting leaves, kitchen scraps, grass, etc. and seeing the mixture morph into a rich organic matter that we can use to greatly improve our garden soil.

After an introduction extolling the virtues of making your own compost (it’s cost effective, increases soil fertility, reduces bacterial and fungal diseases, and more), The Mini Farm Guide to Composting logically begins with a chapter on evaluating your own soil so you know how to best improve it. Markham provides detailed information about soil testing and the additives and processes that can make your dirt more fertile, Myrtle. (I just had to say that.)

Other chapters break down the science of composting and various options – Anaerobic Composting (a simple compost pile is a good example), Aerobic Composting (I always wear a leotard and leg warmers for this), Indoor Mesophilic Composting (Markham’s method for an indoor bucket composting system), Vermicomposting (the farmin’ of worms, Vern), Sheet Composting (some call this lasagna gardening because of the layering involved) and more.

The Mini Farming Guide to Composting is 200 pages and retails for $14.95 USD. Skyhorse Publishing has generously provided a complimentary copy for one lucky Happy Simple Living reader.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below about your current composting situation. If you don’t compost, would you like to try? If you do compost, do you use a pile, or one of those fancy twirling composters, or something in between? Are you havin’ trouble with your worms, Vern? Or would you like to produce more compost, or learn how to speed up the process? Let’s dish about compost, shall we?

The giveaway closes next Monday, April 8, at midnight MST, and is open to residents of the United States and Canada.

Here’s to diggin’ in the dirt, Bert,

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Free Book Giveaway: Win a Copy of The Mini Farm Guide to Composting

  • Susan

    I am very new to composting.. and I am trying to start gardening too. 🙂 I am also the new proud owner of rain barrels! 🙂

  • Lori

    Would love to know if others use shredded paper in their compost. I always seem to have a lack of “brown” matter, but not the green stuff, so shredded paper would help to round things out if it actually works!

  • Maddie

    hello! I am very new to composting, late last fall I purchased an outdoor bin but only got my kitchen bin a few weeks ago so I am just learning what can go in and what can’t! This book would be very helpful as I am planning my first vegetable gardens for this year. (I’m up in Canada and where I am it isn’t spring quite yet… there is still snow on the ground!)

    thank you!

  • Danielle T

    we just bought our first house and are starting a garden and would love to have information about composting!

  • Vera K

    Well I would like to compost better. I need more info!

  • Lyn

    I love to compost and have been doing it for years (decades, actually, if you when I was growing up). That said, I feel as if there is always more to learn. I have used four different methods – a plastic spinning model, dumping it all into a bed in my garden and letting it sit for a year and then rotating beds, worms in the basement, and a chicken-wire and wood three bin composter I made three years ago with a friend. By far the easiest for me is the 3-bin system – After dumping my worms from my inside worm bin into the compost bins, it has been particularly successful. They seem to survive the subfreezing temperatures in Northern New England and have gone to town on our vegetable scraps, torn up toilet paper rolls and shredded leaves. I feel as if it an ongoing science project with wonderous results every year. Some of the richest compost serves as topdressing for houseplants. Some of the chunkier stuff goes right into my raised beds in the early spring and the late fall. Thank you for encouraging composting! Such a great way to reduce smell in the garbage pail and excess waste in the landfill.

  • I am thoroughly enjoying reading all of your comments. All this talk of composting has me so excited to get out in the garden, but we’re expecting snow in Denver on Tuesday and a low of 15 degrees F!

  • sam greenwald

    great energy saver

  • Financial Black Sheep

    I love composting! I love using red worms and two buckets. They sit right outside my back door so I can easily add scraps. I use two buckets so if one has too many food scraps in it (they are little buckets) I put dirt on top and let it compost for a few weeks. During the fall I usually let them all free into my garden, so I always end up purchasing more worms. This year I should see if I can find a place to dig a bunch up and save some money. 🙂

  • I have found the best method for me is the boring old “heap” in the backyard. As an added bonus, I now own a pitchfork 🙂

  • JoAnne Lafever

    My husband buries our kitchen scraps in our very sandy soil in our small backyard garden. I keep urging him to get the grass cuttings from the people that mow the front lawns. We have gone and gotten Ilama poo from friends but seems we need more ideas on how to improve this soil. I think this book would be great for my husband since he seems a little critical of my suggestions! 🙂

  • Manuela Miljak

    I dug a big hole in my garden and I am putting scraps in. I need to do things in batches. Baby steps but the will is there.

  • sam greenwald

    looks good i can use a new book for a cold night in

  • I have a round plastic bin with an opening, a lid and a base. I throw all my kitchen scraps in and turn it every few days. Works OK, but not the greatest. I have emptied it a couple of times in my garden. I’m thinking of starting a second one. Worms would be fun to add to the mix.

  • Yoko

    I began composting by putting a large glass jar on my kitchen counter to put the food scraps in. I emptied the jar once every couple days into a trash can with holes drilled into it for air circulation. I would layer twigs and leaves along with the food scraps in the trash can and then just take a big shovel and stir it every once in a while. Composting was actually a lot easier than I expected!

  • Well I don’t compost now but have thought about it seriously. And my son and daughter-in-law compost and it they add the compost to their property. I would love to add to that. Please count me in for this contest. Thanks.

  • Lisa C.

    I have never composted but would love to give it a try.

  • Sheila C.

    I have a compost pile that is super easy to use and I still primarily use it. But my husband bought me one of those fancy spinning compost bins. it has a tiny hole, is very unweildy and just not very user friendly. Still, I use it because of the sweet look on his face when he presented it to me…he was so proud he had given me something that would “help” with the gardening I so love…lol 🙂

  • april

    our current way is two wooden crates that get filled with vegetable/fruit waste and yard clippings. and we turn it. and what fun is that? not very. but not long ago, we had a house with a privacy fence and a very large garden (and also no dog), and i would dig a small grave-sized hole in the clay earth, and we would fill that hole with all food and garden scraps over a week or month and fill it ’til it was full to bursting. then, while digging the next hole, i’d cover and fill the other hole up. and tap down the mound. it would take about a year to return to the place of the first hole, and because of the size of our garden, and also seasons where plants were not planted, this mound would just sit and stew for that time. but, oh, the dirt when you got to planting there! black and beautiful. and wormy. and rich. and wonderful. i miss digging holes like that. =(

  • Susan

    I tried composting with worms, but I drowned them. My dad has a hugh composter that he is not using. I just need to borrow a truck and go get it from him. The book would be great to know what is best to put in the composter.

  • Karissa

    Just started a compost pile by the garden which we feed from a small bucket of kitchen scraps but the pile is growing and I need to know how to get it to break down faster…this book would be GREAT! I definitely need to learn more.

  • I began my second compost pile a few weeks ago. Although I had a compost pile running all winter long I still am not sure if it’s ripe enough to be added to my gardening boxes. How do I know that?? I need help.

  • Sam

    I used to compost, but living situations have changed and now I only compost at my summer job at a summer camp. I would love to get back into it though! I miss it!

  • Missy

    We semi-compost, or at least try. We save our kitchen scraps and throw them outside in a pile in the woods. But critters eat everything, usually the same night we throw it out! So needless to say, we haven’t been very successful!

  • Martha

    How do I compost? Let me count the ways?
    3 worm bins in the garage
    2 piles in the back yard
    1 hole in the ground for burying scraps
    and I still want to learn more!

  • Heather L

    Every single year I “start” thinking and then I feel overwhelmed and don’t. This time, this year…is going to be the year….almost certain of it!

  • Elaine M

    I have tried composting in the past but with little success. Would love to learn more about it…better methods. Presently, we give our food scraps to our hens. I would love to win this book and glean new ideas from it. Thank you!

  • Athena

    Complete novice here. My husband and I recently bought our first home and had our first child and are hoping to learn to utilize our space as much as possible. We could use all the help we can get!

  • Machelle H

    My husband and I are just starting our self-sufficiency journey. He built me a three part bin, but I need to speed up the process.

  • I’m a newbie at composting.. have on of the twirl composters that I got as a gift… I love to garden and would love to compost but still scratching my head on what would work for this suburban homesteader in training 🙂

  • Belinda

    I don’t compost but have read a lot about it, the different kinds of brown and green and although reading is far from doing it, I think this book would have what I need all in one place! I would love to win this book and give it a whirl! Thanks!

  • mrsfarmerjen

    I semi-compost… My chickens get all the appropriate kitchen scraps and in turn I compost their droppings with the horse manure and use it later in the garden.

  • Karen

    We don’t compost although I would love to do it.

  • Lauren

    Just stumbled upon homesteading and voluntary simplicity last month and I’ve been devouring everything I can get my hands on since. Would love to learn more about composting and give it a try. Love the subtitle of the book “Self-Sufficiency from your Kitchen to your Backyard” that’s what I’m looking for! Love the blog too!!

  • Tess

    Still “green” about composting… need to learn more… this book might help me a lot!!!

  • I have an older plastic bin, I have not had alot of success with it. it’s hard to tumble the debris and doesn’t seem to be breaking down properly. Have thought about getting a tumbler, assuming that they work better. Would love any advice. Thanks for the chance to win this book.


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