Book Review: “Compost” by Ken Thompson


I picked up this book at my local library. It was a quick read and an excellent guide to composting for newbs. The layout was gorgeous, reminiscent of a magazine, with loads of helpful visuals that kept my interest. It started out by breaking down the basics- not just what should and shouldn’t go into the compost, but why. The reader receives an overview of carbon and nitrogen ratios, watering, and the differences and uses for compost vs leaf mold vs vermacomposting.

The overall feeling was one of laid back invitation. Throughout the book the reader is reminded that even if everything goes wrong, all organic material eventually becomes dirt when exposed to the elements for long enough. That was exactly what I wanted to hear.

 While inviting and informative, the reader is not lead to believe any misconceptions about the speed at which they can expect finished product, nor the ease with which worms are kept alive. I appreciated the honest break down about keeping a worm bin- they’re useful pets but require upkeep and they’re a little particular. Also expecting 2 week compost is madness and annual compost is much more reasonable. 

Finally, I especially enjoyed ‘composting for realists’ as it included the different composting setups (spoiler: they are not typically as aesthetically pleasing as gardening magazines would have you believe) as well as how you might use compost. There was even mention of those of us who might be making compost to use as potting soil for lack of true outdoor space and how we might go about doing so. While I doubt the seasoned composter would get much out of this book, it’s a goldmine for the novice. Not only does composting make sense on an environmental and economic level, but nutrient-rich compost is something that’s attainable no matter where you live or how inexperienced you are with gardening.

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