Composting 101

Simply put, composting is adding organic material to soil to help plants grow. Materials can be from your yard such as grass clippings, dead leaves and branches or from inside your home such as food scraps, egg shells, or fruit and vegetable waste. Composting can be done in a variety of settings from lots of space such as a pile in a backyard to minimal space such as a indoor bins in an apartment. Once these materials are broken down naturally by bacteria and fungus, the end result is a dark soil like substance that is rich with nutrients. 

The best way to compost is to add your “browns” and “greens” to a pile or bin, and to keep it moist with plenty of airflow. Browns can include paper and egg cartons while greens will include your fruit and vegetable scraps and coffee grounds or tea bags. Ensure that any yard materials are broken down to small pieces and that no diseased plants are added as it can contaminate the rest of your compost pile. Keep adding a balance of both browns and greens until your pile is the desired size or your bin is full. You will be able to add your compost to soil once it is broken down, by being completely black and having no pieces of food waste. If your compost pile starts to smell, you can just add more browns, as it should balance out any greens which are decomposing and causing a foul smell. 

It might seem simple what to add to your compost pile, but there are actually many Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to making a correct and efficient compost pile. First thing, is that the area where you intend to compost needs to be well ventilated and also the correct amount of water is important for compost development. We’ve made a simple list of what to and what not to compost and why:

Good to Compost:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Yard Trimmings
  • Ground Coffee With Filter / Tea Bags
  • Paper and Shredded Newspaper
  • Wood Chips and Sawdust
  • Cardboard
  • Hair
  • Eggshells
  • House Plants
  • Nut Shells
  • Grass Clippings

Bad to Compost:

  • Dairy Products - Odours that will attract pests
  • Diseased Plants - Diseases or insects can survive and transfer on to new plants
  • Meat or Animal Scraps - Odours that will attract pests
  • Pet Waste - Could contain bacteria, parasites, or viruses that are harmful to humans
  • Yard Trimmings Treated With Pesticides - Can kill beneficial composting organisms
  • Grease, Oil, Fat - Odours that will attract pests

 There are a number of benefits when it comes to composting. One such benefit is enriching the soil with nutrients, which reduces the need for fertilisers and pesticides. It also helps retain moisture which helps reduce runoff and erosion. By composting, we all reduce the amount of waste that finds its way to landfills. This greatly reduces the amount of carbon and methane released into our atmosphere. 

Try composting for yourself today, not only will you soil and plants by happy, but your environment will thank you for it as well! 

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