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DON'T DO THIS You should never include fats
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DON'T DO THIS You should never include fats (meat or fish table scraps, dairy products, oils, etc.), diseased plants or weeds that have gone to seed in your pile. And never add materials that don't decompose, such as plastic or glass. Bird and rabbit droppings, and horse manure are OK, but kitty litter and dog poop are not. As a rule of thumb, excrement from carnivores is off limits. Email this photo gallery to your family, friends and favorite blogs. More gardening how-tos

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How to make compost

I like the idea of transforming garbage into free mulch and fertilizer. It's a win-win situation when I can save money and keep my eggshells, coffee grinds and weeds out of landfills. Compost is the single best additive available for improving any soil. Soil too sandy? Add compost. Too much clay? Add compost. Lacking nutrients? Compost. No wonder gardeners call it black gold. And with all those crunchy leaves about to make their appearance, now is the perfect time to begin making your own. BY JESSICA DAMIANO