The 10 Best Compost Books for Beginners

compost books
If you’re looking for some of the best composting books worth reading for basic knowledge about reducing food waste at home, try “Composting for a New Generation” by Michelle Balz or “Let it Rot” by Stu Campbell.

The school system equipped us with recycling and reusing knowledge for sustainable living as kids, but what about composting?

I’ve tested and revised some of the best sellers in the market and came up with these five great books that can guide you towards composting, especially if you’re a newbie.

The best compost books for beginners include:

  1. Composting for a New Generation – Michelle Balz
  2. Let it Rot – Stu Campbell
  3. Worms Eat My Garbage – Mary Appelhof
  4. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide – Barbara Pleasant 
  5. The Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener – Grace Gershuny & Deborah L. Martin

Best Composting Books for Beginners

Here is a detailed review of these books with step-by-step instructions on starting your own compost. 

1. Composting for a New Generation – Michelle Balz

Looking for a book that explains the science behind the composting process in ways that an 8th grader understands? This is it. Michelle Balz pioneered this tome for small-scale composting systems in your backyard. 

The author highlights the differences between composting and other methods of sustainable living.

She also provides readers with multiple approaches toward easy composting for the organic gardener giving detailed instructions for each method with image support.

This fantastic book sustains your interest and holds your attention for the entire period.

Definitely worth it!

2. Let it Rot – Stu Campbell

Read “Let it Rot” for a comprehensive and straightforward approach to thermophilic composting.

This book breaks down the composting technicality posed by other authors and translates it into layman’s terms that are more accessible for beginners.

Campbell guides you towards the benefits of composting household waste and scraps and the right steps to harvest quality compost by successfully creating the perfect compost bin. 

“Let it Rot” is a highly-demanded composting guide despite being published in 1975 because of its captivating and informative anecdotes.

If you need to polish up your composting skills or looking to learn a few basic composting techniques, add this book to your list.   

3. Worms Eat My Garbage – Mary Appelhof

Vermicomposting is as simple as adding worms to your compost bin, isn’t it? Not really, and the queen of worm composting, Mary Appelhof, explains why in immediately-applicable details.

There are many things to consider when vermicomposting, including proper bin management, worm sex life, and other topics beginners usually put off only to regret later on. 

Appelhof uses detailed drawings to explain the fundamental complexities of worm composting educationally and entertainingly. Moreover, Mary is an enthusiastic vermicomposter with the knowledge and skills that complement her publication.

You deserve nothing but the best, and “Worms Eat My Garbage” gives you direct and practical information at your fingertips. 

4. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide – Barbara Pleasant & Deborah Martin

How do you write a guidebook? Most of them look similar with detailed instructions and use a technical tone of explanation. That’s the basics of any instructional manual, but Barbara and Deborah decided to take a different route with “The Complete Compost Gardening Guide.”

These two brilliant composters adopted a conversational style approach to writing their book that serves to change how we make and use compost. 

Barbara and Deborah provide new insights into their own six-way compost gardening system and cover proper bin construction, necessary tools, safety tips, and innovative composting techniques.

This book is based on the authors’ trial-and-error experiences that most compost beginners can relate to, creating a reliable resource for any newbie.

This guide is your go-to solution if you need fantastic compost techniques that save time and money while producing the richest compost for your plants. 

5. The Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener – Grace Gershuny & Deborah L. Martin

As an amateur composter, you’ll search for resources that provide a good balance of the basics and advanced concepts to help you level up your skills later. Well, you’ve stumbled onto the right book.

Grace and Deborah highlight simple methods to make compost and more intricate details about the science of composting for large-scale compost systems. 

“The Rodale Book of Composting” is also reasonably practical and provides a realistic viewpoint on how beginners and experienced gardeners can manage their compost systems properly.

It describes various composting stages using images to give more detailed insight into creating the perfect environment for your compost pile.

If you’re interested in learning about general composting, this book will give you an in-depth view of how it works. 

Other Composting Books Worth Buying

Don’t stop at that; here are five other composting books worth buying today. 

6. The Compost Troubleshooter – Jane Gilbert

Composting beginners are prone to encountering problems with their compost bins. While other books focus solely on creating the perfect compost, Jane Gilbert helps rookies troubleshoot their compost issues by offering in-depth illustrations and analyses of various composting situations. 

Whenever you stumble upon a composting snag, use this book as a reference source for a solution. It also provides excellent insight into entertainingly creating the perfect pile.

This book is suitable for anyone having difficulty maintaining their composts despite following the proper procedures. 

7. Composting For Dummies – Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Composting beginners can still make it right with their procedures on the first try as long as they have a good guide to walk them through the basics. “Composting for Dummies” is an excellent resource that introduces rookies to the composting process in a fun way.

The guide covers all composting aspects using simple language, helpful tips, and a few diagrams to better the illustrations.

I’d recommend this book to first-time composters who have no idea where to start and are looking for step-by-step guidance towards harvesting the perfect compost. 

8. No-Waste Composting – Michelle Walz

Cathryn Jakobson has your back with this creative and innovative masterpiece if you’re a first-time composter with limited space. The book entails solutions for small-scale composting, especially in apartments or for homeowners with less exterior space for their gardens.

“No-Waste Composting” includes projects with crystal procedures for decomposing everyday items around your home.  

The book also has amazing DIY ideas for reusing various household items and developing better composters.

This piece is suitable for beginners and professional composters searching for something new and valuable. 

9. Composting: Bob’s Basics – Bob Flowerdew

A picture is worth thousands of words, and “Bob’s Basics” compliments the effectiveness of beautifully laid out illustrations in a book.

Bob is a gardening expert who shares his knowledge and experience in this book to help beginners access simple yet effective composting techniques. This guide will provide different approaches to harvesting quality compost from real-life experiences and using enticing images.

With a name like Bob Flowerdew, what’s not to trust regarding the right gardening skills? 

10. Easy Composters You Can Build – Nick Noyes

Probably the smallest composting guidebook we’ve ever reviewed that offers a lot of knowledge on building the best compost bin among other composting structures. 

Nick Noyes cuts through all the nonsense that comes with many other publications and gets straight to the point with practical designs. The book also contains multiple ideas and blueprints for creating DIY compost bins and different composting methods suitable for these structures.

“Easy Composter You Can Build” is a good companion for anyone serious about gardening with varying styles of composting and configurations. 

There you have it, my 10 most recommended composting books worth reading for basic knowledge about reducing food waste at home.

These gardening books come in different formats, are available on stores like Amazon, and will help you get started whether you’re a rookie or a professional gardener. 


Discovering composting as a way of life or even better, as nature’s way of recycling, Ana dedicates her time to trying out new methods of composting at home. Her goal is to share everything that she’s learned in the hopes that it will help others discover the amazing rewards of composting.

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