Composting saves you money by producing less waste for disposal and not having to buy soil amendments and saves water by helping the soil to hold moisture. It benefits the environment by recycling valuable organic resources at your home which saves on waste collection and disposal costs. Finally, composting helps garden and house plants by improving the fertility and health of the soil.

Compost Benefits
Compost benefits the soil in many ways including:
  • Increases the soil organic matter content and biological activity of the soil
  • Improves the physical structure of the soil and loosens clayey soils
  • Increases the soil's ability to hold water and increases the soil's fertility for better plant growth
Composting Basics
  • Compost piles are living systems and need carbon (browns), nitrogen (greens), air and water.
  • Mix 2 parts greens (vegetable and fruit wastes, coffee grounds, grass clippings, herbivore manures) to 1 part browns (leaves, straw, saw dust, chopped wood and pruning).
  • Maintain the compost pile air and water balance so that it is as moist as a wrung out sponge.
  • During the composting process, the volume of the materials will decrease by one half and temperatures can reach 130 - 150 degrees.
  • Do not compost meat, bones, fish, dairy products, breads, dog or cat feces, treated wood or sawdust, diseased plants.
Compost Troubleshooting Guide
Symptoms Problems
Pile not
Too Dry
Too many brown materials
Add water until damp and turn pile.
Add fresh green material, water and turn pile.
Pile smells
attracts flies
Too much green material
(food or grass clippings)
Food scraps exposed
Material not compostable
Turn pile and add brown material.
Bury and mix food into pile.
Remove meat and dairy and turn pile.
Rodents or
other pests
Food scraps in open bin or
holes in bin are larger
than 1/4 inch
Use a rodent proof bin.

Compost Bins & Methods

There are a variety of methods for composting your organic wastes. All methods will produce compost but some will compost waste more quickly than others.
  • Open Piles: Open piles are inexpensive and great for yard trimmings and manure.
  • Simple Bins: Contain organic waste and are more tidy than open piles and can be made to keep pests out when composting food wastes.
  • Commercial Bins: Are good for people who do not wish to make their own bin and would like to compost food and other organic wastes utilizing a lawn maintenance system. Most commercial bins will allow you to produce compost without having to turn the material. What ever method you use, remember Compost Happens.
More Information (Books & Training)
  • Let it Rot 1975 - Stu Campbell, Garden Way Publishing, Pownal, VT 144. pp.
  • Rodale Guide to Composting - 1979. Organic Gardening Staff, Rodale Press, Emmaus PA 405 pp.
  • Worms Eat My Garbage - 1982. Mary Appelhof , Flower Press, Kalamazoo, MI 100 pp