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how to compost

How to Create and Use Compost

Turn your kitchen scraps into a nutrient dense soil that will allow your garden to thrive! Your plants will flourish with the help of the unique variety of nutrients and microorganisms that this soil provides.

Benefits of composting:

  • Reduces kitchen waste
  • Reduces yard waste
  • Introduces beneficial microorganisms and nutrients to your garden for optimal growth
  • Reduces landfill waste/ helps to reduce carbon footprint

What can I compost?

  • Food scraps: apple cores, egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable remnants (skins, ends, seeds)
  • Yard scraps: Leaves, green lawn clippings, straw, sticks/twigs, non-perennial weeds, wood chips
  • Paper scraps: coffee filters, shredded newspaper
  • To speed up the composting process, feed the compost with smaller pieces
  • Note: compost should be about 1/3 food scraps/greens and 2/3 brown material

What do I keep my compost in?

  • Keep in a black plastic bin (with holes for drainage) in direct sunlight to keep it going through the winter
  • You can purchase a compost bin for less than $100. The city of Madison sells compost bins (and rain barrels) at reduced prices each spring.
  • You can DIY a compost bin

Should my compost be dry or wet?

  • A good compost should be damp–not too dry, not swimming in water. Similar to a plant, a compost pile should have drainage (holes in bottom to release excess water).
  • A compost pile is a living, breathing ecosystem. It must be taken care of!

What should I NOT put in my compost?

  • pet manure
  • perennial or diseased weeds
  • meat/bones/fish scraps (will attract animals)
  • conventional banana peels (contains a great deal of pesticide residue which may harm the process)

When is it finished?

  • When complete, the final product will look, feel,and smell like soil (full-bodied, heavy, dark color). You should not be able to tell what went into the making of the compost at this point.
  • Shovel it into your garden soil and let your plants benefit!


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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