photo of a compost bin

I’ve always been interested in starting a compost pile. It’s not something that’s feasible, right now, at my current residence, but one day I’ll own a home with a backyard and I’ll have the space to do some serious gardening.

Compost piles are good for the environment, they reduce waste and provide great nutrients to gardens. I can’t think of any reason why a hobby gardener or hobby farmer shouldn’t have a compost pile or bin.

In spite of my current living situation, I did some research and came across some great resources on composting. There’s a ton of information out there, so I just pulled together some of the more useful information.

What is composting?

Composting is a natural process, involving bacteria, that turns organic material into a dark, rich, nutrient-packed, substance. This substance is a great addition to soil for most growing situations.

A compost pile is doing what nature is designed to do, it’s just doing it faster.

The basics

EPA.gov has a really good page dedicated to composting. It’s concise, informative and logically put together. Apparently, when composting, materials are divided into two different categories: brown and green.

Brown- Dead leaves, branches, twigs

Green- Grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, coffee grounds

A compost pile should have equal amounts of brown and green materials. Alternating layers of green and brown is a good idea to keep things cookin‘.

What can I compost?

The EPA goes into detail of what you can compost:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Nut shells
  • Cardboard
  • Yard trimming
  • Leaves

What shouldn’t I compost?

Here’s a few things not to compost: 

  • Dairy products
  • Diseased plants
  • Fats or oils
  • Meat
  • Pet waste

The EPA also mentions the reasons why you shouldn’t compost these materials. For example: Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria or parasites. Fats and oils may attract animals.

Composting at home

There’s several ways to compost at your home: In your backyard or indoors. Either way, if done properly your compost will give plenty of important nutrients to your vegetable or flower garden.

Next week I’ll go into composting in further detailing including tips on how to build a compost bin and how to get your compost started.

» Via: The Environmental Protection AgencyComposting at Home

Will is Farm and Dairy's newest writer. He's recently moved to Lisbon, Ohio where he lives in a church turned community theater. He enjoys writing (of course), theater and hiking.
Will Flannigan
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