Backyard composting is an easy way to turn much of the waste from your yard and kitchen into a rich organic material that you can use to improve your soil.
The benefits of composting
► Reduces the amount of garbage your household produces.
► Reduces the amount of water and fertilizer required for your yard and garden by suppressing weeds and holding moisture in the soil.
► Improves soil quality and supplies essential nutrients for plant growth.
How to compost
► Place your bin in a convenient location for easy access. A shady or sunny spot will work. You can purchase a bin or build your own.
► Add food and yard waste, including: vegetable, fruit scraps, coffee ground and filters, tea leaves and tea bags, egg shells, nut shells, plant trimmings, grass and leaves.
► Do not add fats or animal products, including: butter, cheese or dairy products, meat or bones, gravies or sauces and pet wastes.
► As a general rule, add three parts of dry ingredients – leaves or dry grass – to one part of wet food waste.
► Mix up the pile with a shovel or pitchfork at least once a month.
Backyard composting tips
► Keep your compost pile at the right moisture level. If your compost pile has a bad odor, it lacks air circulation or it may be too wet. Try turning the pile and/or adding dry material to the pile.
► If your compost pile is not heating up, it may need more nitrogen or “green” material. Add grass clippings or a nitrogen fertilizer to the pile.
► Bury kitchen scraps at least 8 inches deep in the compost pile to discourage critters.
► You can keep adding to your compost pile as it is composting. However, you may want to start a second pile if you have enough materials.
► Add a layer of straw or hay to the top of your compost pile in the winter to keep it warm.
► The best pile is made up of a variety of materials.
► The smaller the pieces of compost material, the faster the pile will decompose.
If you don’t want to maintain a back yard bin, remember that you can still collect organics and take them to the Carver County Environmental Center.