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The Do’s and Don’ts of Composting

Learn what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to backyard composting.

Making your own compost is a homemade alternative to mulch and fertilizer. Before you start your own compost pile, it’s important to know what you can and can’t compost, and how to care for your compost pile. With the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can start composting right in your backyard.

The do's and don't of composting
Creating a compost pile is an easy and organic way to make your own fertilizer. Learn about the do’s and don’ts of composting with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Composting Do’s

Start the compost pile on bare earth – Worms and other organisms can help aerate the compost. Laying down twigs or straw will also help with aeration, as well as drainage.

Keep your compost near a water source – Dry materials have to be moistened, so setting up your pile near a water source will make it easier to maintain a healthy compost pile.

Keep ingredients diverse – Different ingredients provide different nutrients that are great for your soil. Green materials are high in nitrogen, while brown materials are high in carbon.

Turn the compost – Use a pitchfork or shovel to turn the compost pile every few weeks. Turning adds oxygen to the pile, which keeps the pile aerated.

Layer brown and green materials – Brown materials include sawdust, house plants, dried grass clippings, straw and paper. You’ll want to layer brown materials with green materials, such as vegetables, fruits, fresh grass clippings and coffee grounds. A brown layer on top of a green layer can help mask the smell of the green material. This will help keep away flies and other pests.

Composting Don’ts

Leave food out and showing – You’ll want to cover up the compost or keep it in a compost bin. You can make your own compost bin out of a large garbage bucket, wood pallets, cinderblocks and more. Just make sure you keep food covered up so you don’t attract animals and pests.

Compost dairy or meat products – Meat products can attract animals, and dairy products can make the compost smell bad. There are more items you shouldn’t compost listed in the table below.

Let the pile get too wet or too dry – Compost needs to retain heat and moisture. Covering up your compost pile with a tarp, wood or plastic sheeting can help it stay at the right moisture level and temperature. It will also keep it from getting over-watered when it rains. The goal is to keep it moist, but not soaked.

Do CompostDon't Compost
Vegetable waste Cooking oil
Fruit wasteAnimal waste
Freezer burned vegetables and fruitDiseased plants
Nut shellsDairy products - milk, butter, cheese
Watermelon rindsMeat products, including bones, animal fat
Egg shellsWeeds
Coffee, filters & tea bagsWet grass
LeavesAshes from coals and briquettes
Old herbsFish
Hair, fur & dryer lint
Fresh & dry garden clippings
Stale bread
Sawdust

At Blain’s Farm & Fleet, we understand that a bigger and better compost pile means a brighter garden. That’s why you’ll find everything you need to get started with our lawn and garden supplies. For more tips on making your lawn and garden shine this spring, visit our Lawn Care and Gardening blogs.

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