Backyard Composting Basics
Below are some of the greens and browns that make for a happy compost pile.
- All spoiled vegetables and scraps
- All spoiled fruit and scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Tea bags
- Egg shells (crushed)
- Houseplant cuttings
- Cut flowers
- Coffee filters
- Nut shells
- Stale bread
- Brown paper bags shredded
- Paper towel
- Grass clippings (no more than a 4 inch layer at a time)
- Weeds without a seed head
- Spent flowers and vegetables
- Hedge clippings
- Dried grass clippings
- Dried weeds
- Straw and hay
- Small twigs or branches (mulched)
- Pine needles in small quantities
|The following items are compostable but may draw unwanted pests to your backyard, so they are to be placed in the regular garbage.
- Dairy Products
- Oils and fats
|Compost is beneficial if mixed with garden soil and as a top dress on grass so it is important that the following materials be avoided:
- Diseased or insect-infected plants
- Pet wastes
- Mature weeds with seeds
- Cover the greens from your kitchen and garden with browns from the kitchen and garden.
- Regularly use a pitchfork or other digging tool to mix in newly added green materials.
- Turning the pile will add air into the pile. Air is needed by the micro-organism to break the pile down properly.
- Always cover with a layer of browns.
- By covering the food waste you will minimize fruit fly problems and the occurrence of other pests.
- Keep the material in the composter about as damp as a wrung out sponge.
- A composter that is too wet or dry may stop working.
- The smaller the pieces of organic materials the quicker the materials will turn into compost.
- By using both materials from the house and yard you should get the right mix of carbon and nitrogen.
- By adding some finished compost or topsoil to the pile you will introduce organisms that help get the pile working.