A Homeowner's Guide to Backyard Composting
What is Composting?
Composting is a natural process by which organic material breaks down and decomposes to create a rich fertilizer that can be added to soil.
Compost benefits your property by:
- Returning vital nutrients to the soil that improve plant health and growth.
- Improving soil texture, water retention and drainage.
- Eliminating the need for harsh chemical fertilizers.
Compost benefits the environment by:
- Reducing stormwater runoff on your property.
- Reducing your waste and extending the life of current landfills.
- Saving fossil fuels used to transport organic waste to landfills.
what factors are needed for healthy compost?
The micro-organisms living in your compost pile need the following to survive:
- Food: You can put two main types of organics into your compost bin: green materials and brown materials. Alternate between green and brown material, using 3 parts brown material to 1 part green material. Finish with brown materials to deter pests and reduce odor.
- Water: Water your compost bin to keep material slight moist.
- Air: Using a shovel or pitch fork, turn your pile every 1-2 weeks.
What Can you Compost?
Materials to Compost:
- Green Materials (Wet): Grass clippings, plant trimmings, veggie and fruit scraps, coffee filters/grounds
- Brown Materials (Dry): Dry leaves, wood chips, straw/dried grass clippings, shredded paper
- Other Materials: Egg shells, bread, plain rice, pasta
Materials to Leave Out: Meat, fish pet waste, oil, bones, weeds with mature seeds, diseased plants, materials treated with pesticides
When in doubt, leave it out!
What Set-up is Right For You?
There are a variety of ways to compost on your property. Be sure to choose a set-up that will work best for you and your yard:
- Compost Bin: Best option for limited space. Compost bins keep your yard looking tidy, but it takes longer for materials to compost.
- Compost Tumbler: Designed to easily turn compost material. Compost tumblers are another good option for limited space, and they compost material faster than a compost bin.
- Compost Pile: Low cost option! Needs plenty of outdoor space and requires more maintenance than the other options. Compost piles can hold a lot more material than a bin or tumbler.