Backyard composting is an easy way to turn much of the waste from your yard and kitchen into a rich organic material that you can use to improve your soil.
The benefits of composting
- Reduces the amount of garbage your household produces.
- Reduces the amount of water and fertilizer required for your yard and garden by suppressing weeds and holding moisture in the soil.
- Improves soil quality and supplies essential nutrients for plant growth.
How to compost
- Place your bin in a convenient location for easy access. A shady or sunny spot will work. You can purchase a bin or build your own.
- Add the correct materials.
- Add food and yard waste, including:
- Vegetable and fruit scraps
- Coffee ground and filters
- Tea leaves and tea bags
- Egg shells
- Nut shells
- Plant trimmings
- Grass and leaves
- Do not add fats or animal products, including:
- Butter, cheese or dairy products
- Meat or bones
- Gravies or sauces
- Pet wastes
- As a general rule, add three parts of dry ingredients - leaves or dry grass - to one part of wet food waste.
- Mix up the pile with a shovel or pitchfork at least once a month.
Backyard composting tips
- Keep your compost pile at the right moisture level. If your compost pile has a bad odor, it lacks air circulation or it may be too wet. Try turning the pile and/or adding dry material to the pile.
- If your compost pile is not heating up, it may need more nitrogen or "green" material. Add grass clippings or a nitrogen fertilizer to the pile.
- Bury kitchen scraps at least 8 inches deep in the compost pile to discourage critters.
- You can keep adding to your compost pile as it is composting. However, you may want to start a second pile if you have enough materials.
- Add a layer of straw or hay to the top of your compost pile in the winter to keep it warm.
- The best pile is made up of a variety of materials.
- The smaller the pieces of compost material, the faster the pile will decompose.
If you don't want to maintain a back yard bin, remember that you can still collect organics and take them to the Brooklyn Park drop-off facility.