Backyard Composting

Backyard Composting

Composting is nature's way of recycling food scraps, grass, leaves, and other plant and animal matter. With just a little effort, you can easily make valuable compost in your own backyard.

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Start your pile: you can purchase a commercial composter, build one (using anything from chicken wire to pallets), or simply have an open pile.
  2. Place your compost pile in a partially shaded, easy to reach spot in your yard.
  3. Mix equal amounts of "greens" (fruit and vegetable scraps, fresh grass, egg shells) and "browns" (straw, dried leaves, wood shavings, shredded paper) into the pile. Each time you add "greens" you should add "browns". It's a good idea to keep a pile or bag of dried leaves handy for this purpose.
  4. Omit certain food scraps that are not recommended for your backyard composter: meat, bones, dairy products, fats. These items take longer to break down and may attract animals.
  5. Moisten the pile. It should be moist but not dripping wet; turn it every week or two through the spring, summer, and fall.
  6. Dig your "black gold" into your vegetable and flower gardens, or spread it on your lawn and around trees and shrubs. When it's finished, you'll know. It will be dark, rich and earthy smelling.

What’s In

From the house:
Fruit and vegetable scraps Baked goods, including bread Rice and other grains Pasta Paper towel/napkins Tea leaves/bags Coffee grounds and filters Egg shells Shredded paper (newspaper, cereal boxes, paper packaging, etc.)

From the yard:
Leaves Grass clippings Weeds Brush (break into smaller pieces) Plants, plant trimmings (non-deceased)

What’s Out

From the house:
All meat, including chicken Fish and shellfish Bones Fat, grease, oils All dairy products, including cheese

From the yard:
Weeds that have gone to seed Diseased plants Large branches, roots, etc. Dog and cat waste Plants previously sprayed with non-degradable pesticides

For more information on backyard composting and building your own backyard composter, download the Backyard Composting Booklet

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