Composting Do’s and Don’t’s

Gardeners love homemade compost. Here are few tips on getting the most out of your kitchen scraps and plant trimmings.

Gardeners everywhere love nothing more than a wheelbarrow of homemade compost. Nature’s way of recycling, composting transforms waste such as vegetable scraps, leaves and yard trimmings into enriching soil amendments.

What to use

Green material (nitrogen-rich): Kitchen scraps; plant trimmings from your garden; grass clippings; large leafy weeds that haven’t gone to seed; fruit and vegetables. Brown material (carbon-rich, best shredded): Leaves (oak leaves are good but slow to decompose so don’t use too many in a single layer); newsprint; cardboard; corn cobs and stalks; dry straw.

Make the most of your compost

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What not to use

Cooked foods: These attract rodents, bears and other pests. Fish, meat, bones: These attract animals and produce bad odours. Kitty litter: May contain chemicals and disease-causing organisms. Barbecue ash, coal: These contain chemicals such as sulphur oxides. Successful composting • Choose a sunny area with good drainage, ensuring it’s accessible year-round. Turn the soil before placing the composter to encourage airflow and beneficial organisms. • After placing composter, cover floor with a layer of small branches to allow for air movement and drainage. • Alternate wet (e.g., kitchen scraps) and dry (e.g., yard material) waste. If available, add some “finished” compost, garden soil or a compost starter to the pile to help jump-start the composting process. • Mix compost regularly to encourage faster decomposition.