All composting requires three basic ingredients:
‘Green’ Organic Material:
Kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, small amounts of carbohydrates (rice & pasta), coffee grinds, teabags, green cut grass and clippings, flowers, manure (cow, chicken or horse).
‘Brown’ Organic Material:
Dried leaves, twigs, soil, straw, newspaper and shredded cardboard.
Do Not Compost:
Meat, Bone, Fish, Fats/Oils, Dairy, Pet waste, diseased plants, glossy magazines, inorganic materials, coal ash, chemicals, treated pine sawdust
How Do I Get Started?
Once you have your ingredients, composting is simply a matter of adding them to your bin in the right quantities. It’s useful to think of your compost like a lasagna: you need alternating layers of green and brown ingredients to create good compost.
THE FIRST STEP is to find the right location for your compost bin. To make it convenient to use, position your bin so that you have easy access to it from your kitchen. It can be placed both in the sun or the shade; the warmer the location, the faster the compost will work. CREATE your first layer with dried leaves and twigs. Place these ‘brown ingredients’ at the bottom of your compost bin and water thoroughly. This water encourages bacterial growth which allows your compost to start breaking down.
YOUR SECOND LAYER should include ‘green ingredients’. Add a layer of clippings, plant scraps or other green materials so that it’s roughly the same thickness as your first brown layer.
FOR YOUR THIRD AND FORTH LAYERS, return again to brown and then green ingredients, including materials such as shredded newspaper or straw and veggie scraps. Add water to moisten.
OPTIONALLY you can finish off your foundation by adding a thin layer of soil from your garden to ‘seed’ the compost in. This ‘seed’ is about kick starting your compost by introducing ingredients rich in useful microorganisms.
YOU CAN NOW ADD food scraps and other green materials to the bin. Every time you empty your kitchen scrap bucket, be sure to cover with a layer of brown material to build a balanced and productive compost. Your compost is ready when it looks like rich, dark soil. You can tilt the bin and scrape away the finished compost at the bottom or lift off the bin and start a new pile.