Composting

AUTHOR:  Jessica Nyrop
DATE:  06/01/2021

When I was little, every night after dinner, one of our family members would travel to the corner of the back yard, around our vegetable garden and toss our green and brown scraps from the day into the compost pile (4x4’s and wire fencing my father made). My parents composed for years and still do, but now it was my turn.

Why Compost?

About 30% of trash is comprised of food scraps and yard trimmings. Instead of throwing this waste into a landfill which produces methane gas, we can deposit it back into the earth.  Compost is a natural fertilizer that can be used to fortify soil that will make your plants happy and keep money in your pockets.

compost pile with vegetable scraps.

Photo obtained from gardeningknowhow.com

What Can Be Composted?

Almost everything that is natural that include carbon and nitrogen.

COMPOST DO NOT COMPOST
Vegetables/Fruits Dairy
Coffee Grounds/Tea Bags Meat
Egg Shells
(Take a long time, but will break down)
Bones
Avocado Peel
(Takes a while to break down)
Oils/Fats
Yard Trimmings Plant Trimmings Treated with Pesticides
Leaves Pet Waste
Paper Charcoal/Ash
  Black Walnut/Twigs/Leaves
(Can be toxic to other plants)
illustration of food waste for composting.

Photo obtained from npr.org

How to Start Composting?

Composting can be completed inside or outside. An indoor compost bin can be placed inside a garage or on a small deck. Composting outside can provide more options designated to the composting area.  A simple outdoor simple compost bin works great in a shaded corner of a yard.  There is also an outdoor rotating compost bin available that can be place either on a patio or grassy area.  There are pros and cons to either type of compost bin.  A rotating bin allows you to rotate the compost in the container however, it comes with a higher price tag.  A non-rotating bin is cheaper however, must be rotated by hand to help to oxygenate the compost mix. The non-rotating bin will also be in contact with the earth, to encourage worms and good bacteria to help with the waste breakdown. A compost pail can be placed at a kitchen sink to encourage collection of kitchen scraps.

As the compost pile begins to grow, try to layer brown and green materials for the best nutrient dense compost.  Layering brown and green materials will produce the best ratio carbon to nitrogen ratio.

CARBON
(Brown Material)
NITROGEN
(Green Material)
Wood Chips Grass Clippings
Straw Fruit
Hay Vegetables
Sawdust Flowers
Leaves Coffee Grounds

It may take 6 months to 1 year before you will have enough compost to fertilize a garden with a large compost pile.  Smaller compost piles may be ready within a few weeks. When ready, add to outdoor potted plants, spread around trees and bushes, and watch your plants smile.

Connect with Me

headshot of jessica nyrop.

Jessica Nyrop

Associate Director for Fitness and Instruction

Recreation

175 Alumni Arena

Phone: 716-645-2534

Email: jenyrop@buffalo.edu