Your Guide For Creating A Healthy Compost Pile

Fall is here, and brings with it apple cider, football and lots of lawn and garden cleanup. Put yard waste to excellent use by composting those colorful leaves, grass clippings and yard trimmings. Come springtime, you’ll have an organic fertilizer and soil conditioner that’s rich in nutrients, improves soil texture, and regulates moisture and soil pH. Find more ways to ensure your yard is looking its best with our fall lawn and garden cleanup tips.

Compost Benefits

Your yard will thank you! Compost is an amazing, organic fertilizer for your yard and garden. It restores depleted soil and helps to ward off plant diseases. When you make your own, it saves money and benefits the environment! In fact, did you know that composting reduces household waste by 30%?

Did You Know?

Composting reduces household waste by 30%!

What To Compost

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Composting requires three basic ingredients: browns, greens and moisture.

1. Browns

The browns are those dead leaves, pine needles, twigs and branches that you pick up from your lawn.

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2. Greens

The greens are your grass clippings, veggie waste and fruit scraps.

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3. Moisture

For proper decomposition, just add water.

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For best composting results, the pile should be a mixture of 1/3 green matter to 2/3 brown matter.

What NOT To Compost

Not all scraps are created equal. To keep your compost healthy, do not add the following:

Dairy products

Meat, fish or bones

Diseased plants

Coal or charcoal ash

Colored paper

Chemically treated yard waste

Compost How-To

You’ve gathered your materials—now what do you do?

Your compost pile should start on bare earth. This allows worms and other organisms to do their jobs.

Place your bin in an out-of-the-way, shady spot in your yard, then lay the twigs and sticks first. This will allow the pile to drain properly.

Next, add your mixture of browns and greens. The final ingredient: moisture. Your pile should have the wetness of a wrung-out sponge. Don’t soak it.

Turn your pile every two weeks. It is ready to use when it looks and smells like very dark soil.


The right time to compost is late spring, summer and fall when the temperatures are just right to break down your browns and greens.

Put Compost To Use

When your compost is ready to use, add a 1 to 2-inch layer to the top of your soil, then use a tiller to work it into your garden about 3 to 5 inches deep. Or, add a handful of compost into each hole when you are planting your seeds or seedlings.

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