Backyard Composting for Beginners

Composting is a practice that is beneficial to you and the environment when done right. Follow these guidelines for the best composting results in your yard.  

What is composting?  

Composting is a process in which organic material that is traditionally thrown away, such as food and yard scraps, are instead placed in a bin with soil to decompose and assist in plant growth.  

Why compost?  

The conventional routine of throwing away food and yard scraps leads to those materials sitting in a landfill, where they produce methane. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that plays a large roll in global warming. Instead, opting to compost allows these materials to naturally decompose into organic material that the earth needs in order to sustain plant growth.  

How do I compost?  

To compost in your yard you’ll need a dry, shady spot that is near a source of water (or that you are able to bring water to). Starting a compost pile requires a bin or box of your choosing. It needs to be big enough to fit a generous amount of compost. Then, start adding both brown and green material. Brown material is anything from the yard, such as twigs, branches, and dead leaves. Green material is fruits, vegetables, and other biodegradable food scraps. Make sure to have a balance of both, burying green material under the brown material. Once you’ve added the initial material, continue to add to it over time. Be sure to moisten dry materials as they are put in. You’ll notice that the bottom will turn into dark soil in as early as two months. This is when the soil is ready to use for planting. Cover with a tarp or lid if you don’t want it visible.  

What are the benefits of composting?  

There are many benefits to composting if you can get past tending to a pile of food and yard scraps. That’s typically the biggest obstacle, the “icky” factor. Composting reduces your carbon footprint, enriches the soil, and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, but the biggest benefit is the reduction of methane gas in landfills, which can make a big impact on the planet over time.