When getting ready to compost the first thing to think about is, "what do I want to get done?", reduce waste and/or create a great compost. Then the second question should be, "what is the best way to do this?" For myself, I have aerobically composted for over 50 years (initially thinking it was the only way to get it done). For the past 10 years I have incorporated redworms, night crawlers, fungi and other critters into different types of compost systems to reduce my waste more efficiently and to create a better compost mulch/casting result.
First lets look at what you want to compost - food waste, leaf debris, grass, manure, wood chips, pine needles...the list can go on. There are several different types of composts that work differently to breakdown different material. The main focus in this section "compost essentials" is to explain different composts for different materials. I have heard many times over, "when I compost nothing happens" and if you are doing the wrong type of compost "nothing" may be happening or very little. Below I will briefly explain the most common types of compost with links to a more in-depth explanation.