Composting improves the composition of the soil in your garden, providing much-needed nutrients for plants. It also helps to moderate the soil’s temperature and retain moisture in the soil. In addition, composting can help make your plants more disease resistant. Beyond the benefits to your garden, composting has environmental advantages, returning organic materials to the soil rather than sending them to landfills.
1. Select a container for composting depending on your garden space and your needs.
2. Gather brown, green and other materials. Brown material adds carbon, so in order to keep your
compost pile aerobic, it’s best to err on the side of adding more brown than green.
3. Layer or mix the materials in the compost bin. This helps ensure good air circulation.
As you layer materials, sprinkle them with water.
4. Keep the pile damp but not wet. It should be about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. If the weather
is warm and dry, you may need to add water occasionally. If it is overly wet, you might consider
covering the pile with a tarp.
5. Turn the pile regularly with an aeration tool, ideally once a week or once every two weeks. This
ensures the pile is well aerated, and increases the heat of the pile, thereby accelerating the
6. Harvest your compost. Depending on conditions, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few
months for your compost to be ready. You can tell when it is ready when it is dark in color, soft and
fluffy, nearly uniform in texture, and smells earthy. Add it to your garden a few weeks prior to
planting to give it a chance to work into the soil.
There is likely not enough oxygen and/or the pile is too wet. Mix up the materials using a pitchfork to aerate it. Also, add more brown materials to the pile to break it up or dry it out a bit.
MATTED OR SLIMY
There is likely not enough oxygen and too many green materials and not enough brown materials supplying nitrogen. Stir in more brown materials to help aerate the pile.
ATTRACTING RODENTS OR FLIES
Either food scraps are too close to the surface, or inappropriate materials have been added to the pile (such as meat scraps, bones, etc). Bury food scraps and build up the pile with green and brown yard waste.
COOL TO THE TOUCH AND NOTHING IS HAPPENING
The balance of brown and green materials might be off, and the pile might need more moisture and oxygen. Try building up the pile, turning it regularly, and making sure it stays moist.