Our Guide to Backyard Composting

With the end of summer here I wanted to share some tips on backyard composting for the fall and winter that will surely benefit your garden come next year’s spring.

For those of you who have heard of composting but aren’t quite sure what it is and why you should do it check out below:

  • Composting is a controlled natural decomposition organic material, including items such as leaves, grass clippings, prunings, fruit and vegetable scraps.
  • Composting saves you money by reducing your need to purchase commercial fertilizers and soil amendments.
  • Composting benefits your yard and garden by improving soil health and fertility.  It also helps the environment by recycling organic material and extending the life of landfills.

Composting Basics:

  • There are four simple ingredients required for composting; greens (50%), browns (50%), water and air.  Mixing the proper amounts of each ingredient are very important.
  • Greens include any grass clippings, green leaves, fresh prunings, fruits and vegetable scraps.  However, you should not add any meat or dairy to the compost pile.
  • Browns consist of dry, wood material such as dead leaves, wood chips, twigs, sawdust and paper.  They are the best for decomposition when shredded or chopped to prevent a chunky pile.
  • Water helps to keep a moist pile
  • Air is essential to a sweet smelling composting pile.  It helps to turn your pile once or twice a week.

Using Finished Compost:

  • Top dress your planters by spreading compost to a depth of 3 inches around the base of plants and shrubberies as you would spread mulch.
  • For lawns, screen compost over the surface of the lawn to the depth of 1/2 inch.
  • I’ll have some tips next week about troubleshooting issues with your compost pile, check back then too!