Backyard Composting

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Composting in your backyard can be easier than it first sounds. Layering grass clippings, leaves, and adding food scraps can be all it needs! 

For backyard composting, you can buy a compost bin or build your own. There are numerous containers on the market for making a compost heap, although perfectly satisfactory ones can be constructed from scrap timber, bricks or wire mesh and twist ties, although do try and use a bin with a lid to keep out the rain. Improve drainage by breaking up the soil underneath the compost bin.

The compost bin should be placed in a well-lit and well-drained area of the garden, preferably out of the wind.

Download the PDF of the Handout - Composting at Home

Photo of good foods to compost

What to add to your backyard compost pile:

  • Raw fruit and vegetable trimmings
  • Shredded paper
  • Straw and hay
  • Animal bedding and sawdust
  • Crushed egg shells (these help to control acidity, so are great for your compost pile)
  • Hair and fur
  • Horse manure
  • Leaves
  • Small amounts of grass
  • Coffee grounds and teabags
  • Cereals
  • Bread

What to avoid adding to your backyard compost pile:

  • Meat, fish or dairy products (these will all putrefy, causing odors and attracting flies)
  • Charcoal ash
  • Animal waste (dog and cat feces will encourage parasites)
  • Diapers
  • Colored or treated paper
  • Chemically treated wood
  • Diseased plants
  • Persistent weeds
  • Grass in large quantities (grass heats up and gives off ammonia, which can kill worms)

All that is left to do is wait. If you want the materials to break down faster, turn the compost regularly with a pitch fork or a spade. Look forward to using your natural organic compost!