There are many benefits to backyard composting. Regular use of compost will improve your garden soil and help keep your lawn healthy. There's minimal maintenance and you can make it yourself. Compost is one of the best all around materials for soil improvement.
Top Four Reasons to Use Compost
Compost improves soil structure by adding organic matter. It loosens clay soils and helps sandy soils retain water.
Compost returns nutrients and organic materials to the soil, and feeds beneficial micro-organisms, insects and worms - all essential to maintaining healthy soil.
Compost contains fertilizing nutrients that are released slowly, reducing, if not eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers.
Composting is good for the environment. Home composting reduces the amount of organic material going to the landfill. In the landfill this material produces greenhouse gases.
Cool Winter Tips
Save fall leaves to add to the compost pile over the winter and into spring.
- With a mulching mower you can eliminate fall raking. Mulch and bag your leaves and use them later in the composter.
If your neighbours don't compost yet, ask them for their leaves.
Keep bags of dry leaves beside the composter and fold down the tops to keep them dry.
Empty your composter in the fall to make room for winter materials. Partially rotten compost can be dug into vegetable beds as feed for the earthworms.
The warmer the composter is the better it will work so adding leaves will help to insulate the pile. Choose a sunny location or pile straw and leaves around the composter.
Keep a path to the composter shoveled. Don't want to trek through the snow - place a container by the back door. Make sure it has a secure lid (a garbage can will work). To help soak up fluids and balance the nitrogen/carbon mix add a layer of coffee, shredded paper, sawdust or coffee grounds every week. The disadvantage of this method is the mass will freeze and you will need to wait until spring to dump it in the composter.
Benefits of Winter Composting
- You help the environment all year.
- You enjoy the beauty of a winter garden.
- You will have compost ready for spring.
When the spring arrives, the best way to empty the composter is to lift it off the pile. Move the empty composter to a new location. Compost is ready when it looks and smells like dirt. There may be some compost in the pile that is not yet ready for use. Shovel the unfinished compost back into the empty composter and add more dry leaves.
The finished compost can be spread throughout your yard and garden. An inch each year of high-quality compost provides the perfect amount of food for every plant.
Raking that inch into the grass either in spring or fall, will improve the soil. Or dig it into your garden beds, or mound it around plants as mulch.
Key to Successful Composting
Successful composting is about maintaining a good mix of 'greens' (nitrogen rich materials), and 'browns' (carbon rich materials). 'Greens' are kitchen scraps and grass clippings and 'browns' are dry fall leaves. Always cover or mix 'greens', especially food wastes, with a layer of 'browns'. If you don't have a supply of dry leaves, soil or compost can be used to cover 'greens'. A good technique is to build your compost pile in layers of 'greens' and 'browns' so you won't need to mix and turn the pile.
Help the environment all year - remember to keep composting even as the outside temperature begins to drop.
Visit our website page for more information on how to get started composting.