The Secret Life of Compost

Malcolm Beck with Charles Walters


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We don’t need to poison the earth in order to grow better food, and what is harmful to the environment when improperly disposed of often can be turned back to the soil in a beneficial way through composting — if you know how. The Secret Life of Compost tells you how.

Author Malcom Beck was a lifelong organic farmer, and the founder of Garden-Ville, one of the largest commercial composting operations in the country.

Beck shares his insight into the processes of decay that can transform everything from lawn trimmings to sewer sludge into life-giving earth. Coupled with Beck’s insight into nature and practical advice are remarks from Charles Walters, author and founder of Acres U.S.A.

Copyright 1997, softcover, 170 pages. 44 per case.

Praise for The Secret Life of Compost:

“Malcolm Beck’s intuitive knowledge and lifelong research on the subject of compost and composting gives us a holistic presentation of the process in The Secret Life of Compost." – John Dromgoole, organic gardening authority, radio host

"In this nation where we take for granted our extractive, technologically luxurious lifestyle, Malcolm Beck's knowledge and wise words give each of us the understanding and direction to initiate the regeneration of the most precious life form known – soil. For our flower box, yard, farm or vast rangelands, we must be sculptors of the process. He clearly tells us how and why." – Patricia Q. Behrens, Ph.D., Dick Richardson, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin

"Malcolm Beck is driven by a desire to make his portion of the world a better place by recycling man's waste products as compost to the soil to maintain and improve our nation's greatest natural resource – the soil. By reading The Secret Life of Compost, you too can understand and join this great crusade." – Esper K. Chandler, agronomist, soil scientist, Texas Plant & Soil Lab, Inc., author of Ask The Plant

More about Malcolm Beck

MALCOLM BECK was a lifelong organic farmer and the founder of Gar­den-Ville, a composting/recycling business and retail horticultural supply house. He spoke widely throughout the country, but was particularly well known in south-central Texas. His Garden-Ville operation has grown from a composting pile on his family farm to a multi-million-yard operation in a few years. His compost, fertilizers, bedding mixes, and soils supply leading landscapers throughout Texas. He authored and co-authored many books on organic gardening.

Other Books by Malcolm Beck

Lessons in Nature – A collection of essays includes practical and inspirational philosophy and techniques on soil building, planting and growing, pest control and more. 


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William P.
United States United States

I have been composting for decades, piles and worms. I teach compost classes and do workshops. I discovered Elaine Ingham in 2011 and her guidance has revolutionized my composting techniques and the quality and quantity of the finished product. I give the book to students who have the compost bug. I love Acres USA.

Steve B.
United States United States

The Secret Life of Compost

Great reading! Enjoyed the simple science behind his story which was easy to follow. Excellent book for the home or professional gardener.

Donald L.
United States United States

Production Compost

This book says little about the fine art of composting. I expected it to give me the secrets of making compost no matter what size production I have. Not so. This is the story of how one farmer set up a commercial compost operation. He talks about equipment, big equipment. If you want to learn how to do a compost pile in your garden, get another book.

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