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Make your own compost

Composting is a natural way to manage organic waste and create a rich, nutrient-packed fertilizer for your garden.


The benefits of composting are tremendous. Recycling organic materials into compost can reduce landfill waste and reduce harmful methane emissions that are created when organic materials are left to decompose in a commercial landfill. This will in turn will help with the problem of global warming. You will be creating your own free, naturally sourced, nutrient-rich mulch, ready to use when you need it — thereby saving you money. And let’s not forget about one of the main reasons to compost — it will help you create a beautiful and successful garden.

Ready to get started? Here are the simple steps required to building your own compost.

Decide on a compost bin

While a compost heap may be a viable option for some people, a more convenient and practical solution to composting is to use a bin. With several on the market, it’s easy to pick the one best suited to your needs. Ask yourself these questions when choosing your compost bin:

  • How much composting will you do? If you have a lot of composting to do or a large garden to attend to, a multi-bin system or large stationary bin might be for you. If you are primarily going to use your composte bin for kitchen waste, a smaller indoor kitchen compost bin might suit you best.
  • How quickly do you want your compost? For a quick turn-around from waste to a usable soil additive, a tumbling or spinning compost bin is a great option. Also consider vermicomposting, a system designed to utilize various species of worms to break down organic matter into compost. This can produce results faster than a standard compost bin.

Choose a location that’s convenient

A compost bin that’s not easy to access probably won’t do its job, so make sure to place it properly. Perhaps a compost bin at the back of the garden is the best choice; or, to fully optimize your compost bin, perhaps it should be easily accessible to your entire family.

Let the composting begin

Add both “green” and “brown” ingredients to your compost. For optimum benefit, layer them independently to balance the the ratio of carbon and nitrogen. Then, let nature do its thing. An equal ratio of green to brown or two parts green to one part brown will be effective in creating a usable compost.

Green ingredients include: 

  • Lawn trimmings
  • Animal manure, from a cow or chicken
  • Coffee grounds
  • Old flowers or spent bedding plants
  • Vegetable or fruit peels and raw veggie leftovers
  • Hair
  • Soil
Brown ingredients include:
  • Leaves
  • Tree trimmings or wood
  • Coffee filters
  • Sawdust
  • Plain paper
  • Cardboard
  • Straw or hay

Just a few don’ts

Keep in mind that home compost is derived from (mostly) plant-based organic materials and, in turn, feeds plant growth. So:

  • Don’t add diseased or perennial plants
  • Don’t add certain fruit peels that may be contaminated with pesticides
  • Don’t add an abundance of coloured paper
  • Don’t add chemically treated yard trimmings
  • Don’t add pet waste
  • Don’t add meat products of any kind
  • Don’t add dairy products

More on gardening

5 Benefits of composting
How to garden and grow plants indoors
How to garden for a healthier diet

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