Do You Compost? Here's What To Know About Composting.

Composting is the act of recycling organic materials to use as fertilizer for your plants and it’s easier than you think! All it takes is three basic ingredients:
  1. Water – breaks down the organic matter.
  2. Brown materials (branches, leaves, twigs)—provides carbon for the compost.
  3. Green materials (coffee grounds, fruit waste, grass, vegetable waste)—provides nitrogen for the compost.
Here are a couple tips to get started with composting:
  • Aim for an equal amount of browns and greens in your compost pile.
  • Alternate your layers of material with different-sized items.

Why You Should Compost

We went over the basics of composting, but why should you do it? Here are three reasons:


  • Reduces the amount of material in landfills, where they take up valuable space on our planet and release methane.
  • Benefits the soil and plants in your garden by acting as a fertilizer, retaining moisture, and protecting against pests and disease.
  • Replaces chemical fertilizers.

What You CAN Compost

If you’re just getting started with composting, here is a quick list of items to use:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Eggshells
  • Nut shells
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Shredded newspaper, paper, and cardboard
  • Yard trimmings
  • Grass clippings
  • Houseplants
  • Hay and straw
  • Leaves
  • Sawdust
  • Wood chips
  • Hair and fur
  • Fireplace ashes

What You CANNOT Compost

The following items should not be added to your compost pile because they could be harmful to your plants or humans:

  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs. These leaves and twigs release substances that might be harmful to plants.
  • Coal or charcoal ash. The ash may contain substances that can be harmful to plants.
  • Dairy products (milk, butter, yogurt, sour cream, etc.), eggs, fats, grease, lard, oils, and meat or fish bones and scraps. These items will smell and attract pests.
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants. Diseases and insects might survive and infect other plants.
  • Pet waste (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter). Pet waste may contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses that are harmful to humans.
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides. These trimmings may kill beneficial composting organisms.

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