Generally speaking, grain products, fruits and vegetables, plant clippings, egg shells, coffee grounds and tea bags can all go in a backyard composter.
To begin composting you will need the following materials:
- an outdoor location (preferably close to your kitchen)
- a container (make your own or purchase one)
- a tool to stir the compost (a pitchfork works well)
- a container to collect compostable materials in your kitchen (at least 6 L capacity - an easy to open/close lid is an asset)
Take these simple steps to start your own composter
- Purchase a composter. For example, ARC Industries sells plastic composters for $40. You can find them at 8 Royal Rd. (click for directions). If you are outside of Guelph, contact your city or township for information.
- Build your own composter. Designs can range from simple piles to complex multi-bin systems depending on your building skill and needs. You can have a lot of fun with reclaimed and reused materials.
- Place the compost in a location where it won't be in the way (of lawnmowers, etc.), but is still convenient from your food preparation area.
- Ensure the composter is pegged down or secured and the lid is secure to keep wildlife out.
- Start collecting organic matter and placing it in your composter.
- Refer to the Composting Lists.
- It is important to maintain a proper nitrogen/carbon balance to ensure your compost will be beneficial to plants. Include nitrogen sources such as grass, kitchen scraps and other green materials and carbon sources like leaves, sawdust and other brown materials.
- Your compost should feel moist and spongy, not soggy.
- You can turn your pile as often as you like, but to keep the quicker oxygen loving or aerobic bacteria at work, you will need to turn it about twice a month. Frequent stirring also prevents anaerobic bacteria from releasing foul smelling gas.