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BACKYARD COMPOSTING
Public Services Division
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Backyard Composting
Composting Council
Composting Facts
Home Composting [PDF]
Ingredients/Directions for Composting
Directions and Ingredients

Carbon or "Brown" Material

Carbon, or brown material, consists of items such as: leaves, bark, wood-chips, twigs, and paper. As a rule of thumb, about 50-75% of the material in a compost pile should be carbons and 25-50% should be nitrogen.

Nitrogen or "Green" Material

Nitrogen, or green material, consists of items such as: grass clippings, fruits and vegetable wastes, coffee grounds, and egg shells.

Water

The compost pile should be kept damp, not saturated and have the feel of a well wrung sponge. A handful of compost should yield one or two drops of liquid when tightly squeezed.

Creating the Pile

1. Pick a location for your pile that is out of the way, yet convenient for you to be able to easily dispose of kitchen food scraps.

2. Using a digging fork, "turn over" the soil that will be beneath the pile. This will help expose a healthy supply of decomposing microorganisms to your pile.

3. Start your pile with a layer of carbon, or brown, material. Next add a layer of green material. Continue alternating layers. The pile should be a minimum of 3x 3 x 3 (length by width by height) and a maximum of 5 x 5 by any height.

4. Keep a garden hose handy as you build the pile and spray after every few layers to ensure the pile is uniformly moist.

5. Turning the pile is not necessary, but it will speed up the composting process.

6. Depending upon the ratio of materials, the moisture content, and the amount of turning, you may expect to have finished compost within 3-12 months.

7. Finished compost has many benefits. As a mulch it conserves moisture, reduces erosion, buffers the surface from temperature extremes, adds nutrients, and suppresses weeds. Adding compost to soil as a soil enricher improves soil structure, increases its water holding capacity, and makes nutrients more available.
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