Bee Friendly Gardens

Conserve, Save, Grow, Earn

How to Make a Backyard Compost

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Peppers and tomatoes are easy to grown AND they attract bumblebees as their pollinators

Peppers and tomatoes are easy to grown AND they attract bumblebees as their pollinators

The ABCs of Composting

Composting is easy and inexpensive. It turns almost half your trash into plant food, which can feed your trees, shrubs, flowers and your garden (whether it’s in the earth or pots).

Take your vegetable peels, fruits peels, core or pits, coffee grounds, tea leaves and rinsed crushed eggshells, which are all full of nitrogen, and add them to dry leaves,  plant stalks, shredded newsprint or better still shredded brown paper bags and cut up cardboard. We recommend also adding pet hair, it will help repel rodents.


Select a partially shaded spot with good water drainage to place your well-aerated compost bin (which you can either make or purchased from your local gardening store). Be sure to leave at least a foot-and-a half between fences, walls, bushes, doors or windows.

Whenever you add a food layer to the pile  it must be topped-off with equal amounts of shredded newsprint or shredded brown bags, strips of cardboard or we recommend dried leaves (browns).

To encourage oxygen for the beneficial microorganisms leave lots of air space in your bin. We suggest using a pitch fork to mix the contents once every week or two.

Collect dry leaves, storing them in a dry container, so you can add them year-round.

Your compost will be ready within a couple months.

If the pile begins to steam or it stinks — that’s a good sign because the material is decomposing.

Got these problems…

  • Compost is too wet and very smelly? You’ve added to many greens, try adding browns and turning the pile with a pitch fork.
  • Compost is too dry? You’ve added to many brown and not enough water. Try adding fresh kitchen scraps, moisten the pile with water and cover it to reduce evaporation.
  • Compost pile is cold? Try adding some greens.
  • Compost pile is attracting critters like racoons or rodents? Likely you’re adding incorrect material and there’s inadequate cover. Use pest/rodent resistant bins. And do NOT add oils, meats, grease or breads to the pile, ever.
  • Got fruit flies? Likely your food scraps are exposed. Try putting your kitchen scraps in the center of the pile and cover them with browns.

Do NOT add the following food scarps to the compost: Bread, pasta, rice, sauces, dairy products, nuts, fish, meat, oils, fats or bones.

  • Don’t put dog, cat or human feces in the compost.
  • Don’t put kitty litter in the compost.
  • Don’t put garden weeds with mature seeds in or you’ll inadvertently spread then throughout your yard.
  • Don’t put any treated wood products in the pile because they contain harmful chemicals.

Fact: Compost gives your garden far more healthy nutrients than buying a bag of sterilized peat moss.

Did you know? Organic household waste that winds up in landfills decomposes without oxygen and turns into methane — a gas that is at least 70X more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

Want help creating your compost?

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