How to build a compost bin for free by garden author Doug Green at for other articles about compost and compost tea.
Modern research on using compost and compost tea has been promoted extensively in the garden press and blogs and there are a few things that might help you understand what is good science here and what is maybe not-so-good.
The first thing to understand is that compost is used for two reasons. Organic matter and the microorganisms that live in this organic matter.
You can substitute peat moss for the organic matter (or other organic material) but the microorganisms are the lifeblood of the soil and you need these. Luckily, they are mostly already in a healthy soil and compost / organic matter gives them something to eat so they can multiply and work with our plants.
Where we sometimes get into difficulty is in believing that these microorganisms are the magic bullet that a gardener can put onto the garden to solve all their problems. Let me give you an example. There are some garden writers who suggest that making up a compost tea and spraying this on leaves will kill fungal problems. This "may" be true if the specific microorganism that attacks that specific fungus is in the tea but obviously not true if the microorganism is missing from the tea. All compost tea is not created equally. It may be that this microorganism doesn't appear until later in the season until after there is a good supply of fungus for it to eat - so the claim to being able to prevent or kill off the fungus problem is one of timing. Or production. There are reports that show how compost tea is made - the physical properties of the aeration - can influence the final population of microorganisms. I point these things out to show that it's not just a cut and dried kind of thing.
In my garden world, I make and use compost tea about once a month over my entire garden. In this way, I hope to get the beneficial microorganisms onto the garden when the time is right and they may be appearing naturally in the garden. At the very least, I make myself feel I'm doing something positive for my plants and this may all by itself be worth the effort :-)
But making a free compost bin itself is a good thing to do - you can compost almost any organic matter your property produces and return it to the garden. Check out my garden blog at