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.

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Why Compost? 

Compost benefits your property by:

  1. Returning vital nutrients to the soil that improve plant health and growth.

  2. Improving soil texture, water retention and drainage.

  3. Eliminating the need for harsh chemical fertilizers.

Compost benefits the environment by:

  1. Reducing stormwater runoff on your property.

  2. Reducing your waste and extending the life of current landfills.

  3. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. Water: Water your compost bin to keep material slight moist.

  3. Air: Using a shovel or pitch fork, turn your pile every 1-2 weeks.

What Can you Compost?

 Materials to Compost:

  1. Green Materials (Wet): Grass clippings, plant trimmings, veggie and fruit scraps, coffee filters/grounds

  2. Brown Materials (Dry): Dry leaves, wood chips, straw/dried grass clippings, shredded paper

  3. 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 tumblers at the Conservancy’s office in Schwenksville.

Compost tumblers at the Conservancy’s office in Schwenksville.

  1. Compost Bin: Best option for limited space. Compost bins keep your yard looking tidy, but it takes longer for materials to compost.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.