The best books on composting

10 of the Best Books on Composting

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Are you ready to start composting and up your environmental stewardship game, but overwhelmed by how many books there are on the subject? Or maybe you’re ready to learn more in-depth scientific details about compost. Either way, it can be a little overwhelming with so many good books on the market to figure out the best book for you. Lucky for you, I’ve done the legwork! A few books are consistently considered the best composting books year after year because they not only stand the test of time, but they provide a complete guide for a new generation of composters.

I’ve compiled this list in a way that will help you make the most of your food scraps and compost pile, whether your a newbie or a seasoned composter. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a complex composting system or simply trying to manage a way to keep your food waste out of the landfill, there is a book in this list that will resonate with you.

The best books on composting

I’ve categorized these composting books into five different niches:

  • Best Composting Books for Beginners
  • Best Technical Books on Composting
  • Interesting Reads for the Experienced Composter
  • Best Books for the Home Gardener
  • Best Children’s Books on Composting

Best Composting Books for Beginners

Each of these books provides in-depth information and a step-by-step guide for creating a compost system that works for you. Whether you want simple compost heaps or a more structured compost bin, you’ll find a wealth of information in this collection of books. These books most certainly have technical information, however, each book is simple enough for a complete newb to get the hang of compost. These books can help you get a handle on the science of composting without doing a deep dive. 

Let it Rot: The Gardeners Guide to Composting by Stu Campbell

While considered by many to be “the composter’s bible”, Let it Rot explores such simple methods that it can easily be considered the best book for the beginner composter. Published in 1975, this book has most definitely stood the test of time as most people who are serious about compost will have read it. This book truly is a favorite due to the practical composting know-how tips. 

Composting Made Easy: Beginner’s Guide to Quickly and Effortlessly Composting Kitchen Waste, Even in Your Apartment | Boost Productivity and Soil Health Naturally by Jacob A. Moore 

This is one of the newest books on the market, published late 2022, and it’s no surprise to me that it quickly became an Amazon bestseller. The book is a comprehensive  guide to the world of composting and includes a ton of troubleshooting tips as well as fun ways to get the whole family involved.


Composting: Bob’s Basics by Bob Flowerdew

Bob makes the composting process seem so simple. One of the most charming things about Bob’s Basics is the illustrations on backyard composting. You might find yourself wanting a copy of this book just to admire the artwork. Of course the content makes it a good choice as well!

The Best Technical Books on Composting

These books are a little bit more comprehensive with a lot more detailed information. Each is a classic book in it’s own right and explores various composting methods that have stood the test of time.

The Rodale Book of Composting by Grace Gershuny and Deborah L. Martin

Originally published in 1979 with an update in 2018, the newest edition of the Rodale Book of Composting includes old school relevant information in combination with current research. This book could easily be considered the most comprehensive book and could be a great book for beginner composters due to all the practical tips,


Compost, Vermicompost, and Compost Tea: Feeding the Soil on the Organic Farm by Grace Gershuny and Jocelyn Langer

This book doesn’t just give you the details on compost, it goes into detail on the economics of farming and how composting can be beneficial to your farm’s bottom line. If you have a farm or compost for a business, then this is the book for you.


The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner Batches, Grow Heaps, Comforter Compost, and Other Amazing Techniques for Saving Time and Money, and Produce the Most Flavorful, Nutritious Vegetables Ever by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin

Want to learn how to compost in conjunction with your garden? This book focuses on how to compost in your garden and then use your own compost in your vegetable garden. I love how this connects the science of compost and how to use your finished product to create your own fresh produce.

Interesting Reads for the Experienced Composter

These books go into great detail to describe the latest techniques and new ways to to compost your organic materials. I wouldn’t start with these books if you are new to making soil, instead these books explore different ways to divert your kitchen waste. If you are an experienced gardener, you might even find these books to be an easy read.

Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting by David the Good

As a Floridian, I love love love David the Good. He has so many fun little books about native plants, compost, and permaculture in Florida. He steps out of his Florida box in this book to provide an entertaining yet still fantastic book with so much information.


Humanure Handbook by Joseph C. Jenkins

Just like the title suggests, this book is all about composting toilets and human manure. Just when you thought you had a handle recycling organic matter, composting toilets will take you on a new journey.

Best Compost Books for the Home Gardener

These books aren’t compost focused. Instead each is a good general book for the home gardener, with a little side information on composting.

The Organic Manual by Howard Garrett

Howard Garrett, known as The Dirt Doctor, is on a mission to convert the world to organic living. Since compost is a main component of organic gardening, you can get a good understanding of compost and how to grow organic food. This is a great organic gardener’s guide.

The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott

Linda Chalker-Scott offers a wonderful introduction to sustainable landscaping practices with this book that was originally a series of peer reviewed journal articles. Chalker-Scott is a professor of horticulture and uses this book to address the most common myths and misconceptions that plague home gardeners and horticultural professionals.

Best Children's Books on Compost

t’s never too early to start the conversation about the benefits of composting with kids. It’s a great way to teach them about healthy food and how to avoid environmental pollution.  Readers of all ages can appreciate a good compost story, and all of these books are sure to entertain. 

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth

Save the Scraps

Composting: Nature’s Recyclers

What’s Sprouting in My Trash? A Book about Composting

Compost: A Family Guide to Making Soil from Scraps

Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelho

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