Reduce landfill waste and enrich your soil by composting at home!

Food scraps and yard waste currently make up more than 30 percent of what an average household throws away. Instead of disposing of these items in a landfill, they can be easily composted into an excellent soil amendment for your garden. Compost contains a variety of nutrients & minerals needed for healthy plant growth.

Backyard composting is easy, and it can save you money! Here’s how:
· By composting your yard debris, you can reduce the amount of garbage you produce, thereby saving money on waste hauling costs.
· You can avoid the trouble and cost of buying soil amendments like peat moss, bard mulch and bagged manure.
· Compost makes digging easier and holds moisture and fertilizers where plants can use them.
· Compost helps keep your plants healthy, so you spend less time worrying about the garden and more time enjoying it.

Compost can be used as a mulch or a soil enricher. When using compost as mulch, spread the compost around annual plantings, trees, shrubs and exposed slopes. This will smother weeds, protect soil and keep roots moist. When using compost as soil enricher, mix several inches of compost into garden beds or soil surrounding new trees and shrubs, or rake lightly into lawns.

“Grasscycling” is the easiest form of composting – just leave cut clippings on the lawn! This is a good technique for households that have too much grassy materials. It works well when the mower blades are very sharp, the grass is dry, mowing is frequent so the grass is never over 3” tall and the weather is warm, allowing the grass to decompose quickly

When most people hear the word ‘compost’, they automatically think of a smelly pile of moldy food. However, when done correctly, composting does not smell bad and is a sanitary way to dispose of organic waste. There are many excellent reasons to compost and the greater Cincinnati area has numerous resources available to assist you on your composting journey. Composting yard, garden, and food waste at home saves transportation and disposal cost, and provides an environmentally sound way to manage waste. In addition, composting can provide excellent fertilizer for gardens, yards, and other plants. Adding compost to your garden will increase drainage and provide a continuous source of nutrients required for plant health.

EPA website: Composting at Home

Composting Video

How to compost: Composting is a natural process and can occur with minimal work.  Simply tossing grass clippings, brush, and kitchen waste in a pile will produce compost in the pile within a year or two.  However, if you would like to see faster results, using a compost bin or turning the pile every so often will speed up the process.  Compost needs green material, brown material, oxygen, and water. If turned every few days, you can produce quality compost in 3-4 weeks.

Strive to maintain a 3:1 ratio of brown to green materials in the pile.  A pile that doesn’t heat up within 24 hours (you can see steam rising from the pile) needs more green material and a pile that develops an ammonia smell needs more brown material.  The pile should only be damp, it should not be soaking wet.  Animals will typically stay away if there are no meat or dairy products in the pile.

Materials to Compost
Browns = High Carbon Greens = High Nitrogen
 Ashes, wood Alfalfa
Bark Algae
Cardboard, shredded Clover
Corn stalks Coffee grounds
Fruit waste Food waste
Leaves Garden waste
Newspaper, shredded Grass clippings
Peanut shells Hay
Peat moss Hedge clippings
Pine needles Hops, used
Sawdust Manures
Stems and twigs Seaweed
Straw Vegetable scraps
Vegetable stalks Weeds*

*Avoid weeds that have gone to seed, as seeds may survive all but the hottest compost piles.

What not to use: Coal ash, colored paper, diseased plants, inorganic material, meat, bones, fats, dairy, pet droppings, and synthetic chemicals.

Types of bins: As mentioned, composting can happen when materials are placed in a mound and left alone. If you want a faster or more contained system, you can consider building or purchasing a composting bin. It is not necessary to have a bin, however, it can make it easier to turn the pile, keep the pile manageable, and remove finished compost. You can make your own bin out of wood or fencing and posts. Other types of bins include rolling bins, tumblers, enclosed bins, and worm bins. 

Composting can be an easy and cost effective way to improve the soil quality in your gardens and help your landscaping thrive. No matter how you choose to compost your organic waste, know that you are doing your part to help reduce the amount of waste that goes to our landfills.