Right now you are probably thinking about packing away the patio furniture or servicing your snow blower in preparation for the onset of winter. You’re probably not thinking of your garden or starting a backyard compost pile, right?
Believe it or not fall is the ideal time to start your backyard compost pile.
Don’t believe me? Think of what is needed to create the perfect compost: the proper mix of green (nitrogen rich) and brown (carbon rich) material. The fall season is where these two components are highly accessible. Fresh vegetables and fruits are still available and the leaves on the trees are starting to turn. You have everything you need to start the perfect compost pile and you have all winter for the materials to decompose. Yes, that is correct – composting will continue even throughout the winter months!
So you’ve decided to start backyard composting, now what? Now that you have the materials for your compost pile you just need to pick your compost bin and location.
Everyone has their own idea of what the perfect compost bin design is but the truth is it depends on the person. It could be as simple as a wood framed open pile to a fancy metal tumbler purchased from a hardware store. The bin you choose is up to you but make sure it allows for aeration and turning.
Oxygen is required in the compost pile to ensure you maintain the beneficial microorganisms. Turning the pile every week or so helps to assist in the composting process and ensures oxygen can reach most of the materials in the pile.
Location is just as important as the material and the hardware. Pick a spot that is level, well drained, receives shade and sun and is not too far from your home. Just imagine yourself taking a container of fresh green materials (melon rinds, coffee grinds, apple cores, etc) in various weather conditions like rain and snow from your house out to your compost pile. How likely will you be to add materials to your compost pile if you have to make that journey once a week and sometimes through mud or snow? If you pick a spot too far from your house you will be less likely to add materials and turn your compost pile on a regular basis given the overall inconvenience of its location on your property.
To ensure you are adding materials regularly dedicate a container in your kitchen to collecting vegetable peels, rotten fruits, coffee grinds and tea bags. You could even keep a small collection of dry leaves in a container in your shed or garage so you can add dry material to your compost in any season. Check out our kitchen food waste collection bin and utility bin to help with collection and storage.
There are plenty of resources available online for starting, maintaining and troubleshooting your backyard compost pile. Starting a backyard compost pile is a great way to reduce your waste and to create something beneficial for your gardens.