The journey to composting began when we hatched our first dozen chickens seven years ago. With a feathered flock roaming the yard and munching insects, a need for grass fertilizer disappeared (they were doing that work) and if we wanted to eat the eggs the hens laid, it became necessary to avoid chemicals to control weeds and crab grass.

Cold turkey and with little thought or research, somehow we made an important and solid decision that produced the greenest, most lush lawn in our town — all while saving thousands by giving up professional lawn care and maintenance costs. Only when I began filling the pots on the patio with soil did I seriously invest time and energy in learning the nitty-gritty about dirt. A trip to the local garden shop where 20 pounds of organic compost sells for $6 convinced me that I should go into the dirt business for myself. Within a day, a do-it-yourself compost believer was born.