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  • Writer's pictureSean

Backyard Composting 101: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

fresh backyard compost
Photo by Sasha Kim

Hello, future composters! If you have a backyard and are curious about composting, then you're in for a treat. Backyard composting is a simple and rewarding way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich compost for your garden. This article is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about backyard composting. So, get ready to roll up your sleeves, because we're about to dive deep into the wonderful world of composting!

What is Backyard Composting?

Starting off with the bare basics, backyard composting is the process of converting organic waste, such as kitchen scraps and yard waste, into compost right in your backyard. It's an easy and natural process that's fueled by a team of microorganisms that break down the organic matter into a nutrient-rich soil amendment known as compost.

By composting at home, you can reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill, decrease your carbon footprint, and enrich your garden soil. Plus, it's a fun and engaging activity that connects you with nature and the cycle of life.

Why Compost in Your Backyard?

There are several good reasons to compost in your backyard. First and foremost, it's a practical way to reduce the amount of organic waste you generate. By composting your kitchen scraps and yard waste, you can significantly reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill.

Second, composting in your backyard produces a valuable resource - compost. This nutrient-rich soil amendment can improve the health and productivity of your garden. It improves soil structure, increases its ability to hold water and nutrients, and introduces beneficial microorganisms that can suppress plant diseases.

Moreover, composting in your backyard is a great way to engage with nature and learn about the cycles of life and decay. It can be a fun and educational activity for the whole family. For more reasons why composting at home is a great idea, check out our article on The Unseen Benefits of Composting at Home.

Setting Up Your Compost Pile

Setting up a compost pile in your backyard is a straightforward task. Choose a spot that's convenient to access, has good drainage, and is somewhat shaded. You don't want your compost pile to dry out too quickly in the hot sun. You can create a compost pile directly on the ground, or use a compost bin to keep it contained. A compost bin can be bought, or you can make your own - for a guide on how to make a DIY compost bin, check out our article DIY Compost Bins: A Step-by-Step Guide.

What to Compost

You can compost a wide variety of organic materials in your backyard compost pile. This includes "green" materials, which are materials rich in nitrogen, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and fresh grass clippings, as well as "brown" materials, which are rich in carbon, such as dry leaves, straw, and shredded newspaper.

Remember to maintain a balance between green and brown materials in your compost pile - a general rule of thumb is to aim for a 1:3 ratio. This balance is important because it provides the ideal conditions for the microorganisms that break down the organic matter in your compost pile. For a more detailed guide on what to compost, refer to our article Mastering the Green to Brown Ratio: What Can Be Added to Your Compost.

Maintaining Your Compost Pile

Once you've set up your compost pile and started adding materials, you'll need to maintain it to ensure it decomposes effectively. This involves regularly turning, or mixing, the compost pile to introduce oxygen, which is necessary for the decomposition process. If your compost pile gets too wet, you can add more brown materials to absorb the excess moisture. If it gets too dry, you can add water to moisten it. For a more detailed guide on maintaining your compost pile, check out our article on How to Maintain a Compost Pile for Optimal Results.

Backyard composting is a rewarding activity that benefits your garden and the environment. With this comprehensive guide, you're well-equipped to start your backyard composting journey. Remember, composting is more of an art than a science - don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you. Happy composting!


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