Composting uses nature's own recycling system. Weeds and leaves, grass clippings, vegetable peels, and various other organic wastes are turned into humus. That's an essential soil conditioner richer than anything we can buy. Why throw away the raw material which generates something so valuable?

Especially when composting has other benefits as well.
  • Up to 30% of the garbage we throw out each week can go in the compost pile.
  • Cutting domestic waste generation means a longer life for landfill sites and better environmental management for the entire community.
  • It gradually releases a variety of nutrients just when they're required by the growing plants.
  • Plenty of compost added to the soil will also act like a sponge, soaking up water when it rains and releasing it in dry spells.
  • It improves the structure of both sand and clay soils, protecting them against drought and erosion.

Composting has three basic requirements: air, water, and food.
Air:   Air penetrates only the first few inches of the pile, so it needs help to reach the centre. A vile smell around the compost tells you that anaerobic bacteria are moving in, and the pile may simply need to breathe. The most effective method of introducing air is to turn the pile with a garden fork.
Water:Your compost pile should be as damp as a wrung-out sponge -- moist to the touch -- but no water should come out when you squeeze a handful.
Food: The ingredients are all around us -- almost anything that once lived is a candidate for the compost, so try for lots of variety to get a good mix of textures and plant nutrients.
Brown: Materials that are high in carbon are called "brown" ingredients.
Green: Materials like garden refuse, manure, tea and coffee grounds, feathers, hair, and food scraps are high in nitrogen, or "green."
For successful results, you can use the simple rule that compost needs to be about half "brown" and half "green" by weight. Composting soon becomes a matter of instinct, like the cook who bakes without a recipe. If the pile doesn't heat up, you know there's not enough "green" in the mix, while a smell of ammonia means it needs more "brown."
Materials To Use
  • Algae
  • Bone meal
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Feathers
  • Flowers
  • Fruit and fruit peels
  • Grass clippings (fresh)
  • Hair
  • Manure
  • Seaweed
  • Tea Leaves
  • Vegetables and peelings
  • Buckwheat hulls
  • Coffee filters
  • Corn cobs
  • Cotton/wool/silk scraps
  • Grass clippings (dried)
  • Hay
  • Leaves (dead)
  • Paper
  • Peat moss
  • Pine needles
  • Sawdust
  • Straw
  • Tea bags
  • Wood chips
  • Wood ash
This list is far from complete. Anything organic can, in theory, be composted -- some more easily than others. But common sense suggests a few exceptions. The following materials may cause problems in a backyard compost pile.
Materials To Avoid
  • pet wastes can contain harmful bacteria;
  • meat, fish, fats and dairy products are likely to smell as they rot and may attract four-footed visitors;
  • weeds with mature seeds, and plants with a persistent root system (like crabgrass, ground ivy, or daylilies), may not be killed by the heat of the compost;
  • leaves of rhubarb and walnut contain substances toxic to insects or other plants so most people choose not to compost them. 
  • insect-infested or diseased plants may persist in the compost; materials contaminated by synthetic chemicals or treated with herbicides or insecticides should never be used;
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