Composting | Sustainable Landscaping

Composting Basics

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All About Compost

Composting is a sustainable practice that utilizes natural decomposition to convert organic waste into nutrient-dense soil. This process offers several benefits for gardens resulting in vibrant and abundant plant life. Among them:

  • It enriches the soil with essential nutrients and organic matter.
  • Improves soil fertility.
  • Reduces the need for frequent watering.

Composting leads to healthier plants that are more resistant to diseases and pests, however, there are some potential drawbacks. Some of which include:

  • Composting requires time, effort, and proper management. It’s an ongoing process requiring monitoring, turning, and maintaining the right balance of materials.
  • Compost piles can emit unpleasant odors or attract pests.
  • Composting may not be suitable in densely populated areas with limited space.
a pile of compostable material

Generally, items derived from plants, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, yard waste, leaves, and plant-based fibers like paper and cardboard, are compostable.

What types of materials are compostable?

Compostable materials encompass a wide range of organic matter. Compostable materials include:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Paper products such as newspapers, cardboard, and paper towels
  • Dried leaves and grass clippings

Avoid composting meat, dairy products, and oily foods. Furthermore, avoid wood and yard materials treated with chemicals.

compost bins

Compost bins provide a controlled environment for organic materials to decompose. New material is placed on top, while the decomposed material works its way to the bottom.

If you have neither time nor space for composting in your backyard, you can always purchase compost at any garden center. Whether you do it yourself or buy compost, adding it to garden soil is a sustainable, cost-effective way to nourish all gardens.

Frequently Asked Questions about Composting

What kind of bin do I need?

A compost bin with a lid is ideal to help keep the compost moist and warm. You can find a variety of options online or at your local garden center.

What do I need to do?

It's important to keep it moist but not too wet. You can add water as needed to keep the compost from drying out. You should also mix the compost about once a week to keep things going. Breaking down organic material is an aerobic process, the worms and microorganisms that chomp on the waste need air.

How quickly will yard and organic waste become compost?

This depends on a variety of factors such as the temperature, moisture level, and the types of materials you are using. In general, it can take 6 weeks or longer for your compost to be ready to use.

"G-day!" We like this video from Tumbleweed. It's a nice 5-minute intro to backyard composting.

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