photo showing compost pile

When you choose to compost your food scraps and lawn and garden waste, you are making an important choice that gives you an opportunity to feed the soil with organic matter that would otherwise be lost to a landfill site.

Your choice of compost container will depend on the space you have. You may choose to purchase one or two small plastic compost containers from your local hardware store or you can construct an elaborate three bin system, complete with lids to keep out excess rain. There is lots of information on line about how to construct a compost bin.

Whatever system you choose, the process will remain the same. The success of your compost will depend on keeping the mix of materials right. You need to add 1 part  green, nitrogen rich material such as grass clippings, annual weeds, fresh green leaves, vegetable kitchen waste or manure to 25 -30 parts  brown, carbon rich material such as wood chips, sawdust, shredded or torn paper and cardboard, straw or dead leaves to your compost. The balance is important. Too much green waste will cause the compost to become wet and slimy. This can be remedied by adding more brown material. . Too much brown material will make the mixture too dry and it will not rot easily. Remedy this by adding more green material. Trial  and error will get it just right. Always avoid adding cooked food.

Layer the materials. You can add water if the compost becomes dry. A cover on the compost is advantageous as it make regulating moisture easier. It also helps to retain heat which helps with the biodegrading process.  If you are having a problem with animals getting into your compost the cover will be essential. If you are having a problem with flies, cover the food scraps with a layer of brown material or soil.

Turning your compost occasionally allows air to circulate and relieves compaction. It is also beneficial to the microorganisms that carry out the decomposition.

Each spring and fall, you will have the satisfaction of adding compost throughout your garden. This will feed your soil by adding organic matter that will lead to the growth of healthy plants.

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