Backyard Composting

What is Composting?

Composting is a biological process by which naturally occurring microorganisms and bacteria break down organic materials such as grass clippings, woody material, leaves and various food waste into a soil-like material called compost or humus. Composting is the natural form of recycling materials.

Why Compost?

Valuable landfill space can be conserved by composting yard trimmings and food waste from around the home. Composting is an effective, beneficial, inexpensive and natural way to handle organic waste from the home. It is estimated that the materials going to landfills is yard and food debris could be composted. In addition, the compost created from these waste materials will improve the health of the yard as the compost is distributed throughout the gardens and lawn.

The base of the compost pile could simply be a wooden pallet covered with some fine mesh wire or several layers of wood chips and/or branches to facilitate drainage and aeration. Then begin filling the bin with leaves, yard trimmings, food scraps and paper towels, etc.

Keep in mind that cutting or shredding the materials into smaller pieces will ensure that they decompose faster. Although shredding leaves is not necessary, it will shorten the time it will take for the leaves to breakdown into compost and humus. The same is true for food and garden waste. If all possible alternate with a layer of green material and brown material. This will help balance the amount carbon and nitrogen materials going into the compost pile. Performance is best in the compost pile when there is a ratio of 20 to 30 parts of carbon materials to 1-part nitrogen materials. This is not always the case, especially if composting high carbon materials such as sawdust, bark, cardboard, newspaper, and dry leaves.