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Did you know that in Canada, since 1995, Composting has been granted an Awareness Week? True. May 4th to 10th, annually. Be sure to check out worm composting if you think you’d like to try composting for house plants or over winter.

To learn more about composting I’ve tagged a few other articles here on GoodByeCityLife.

Here to celebrate Composting Awareness Week is a list of tips for compost newbies…

Top Ten Tips on Composting

Use a compost bin. Ensure it is rodent proof. This tip is especially important for readers in urban or city dwellings. (See varieties below.)

If your compost bin is going in the yard, place it on bare soil in an easy to reach spot. You don’t want to plant it in the back of your property where you’ll never want to carry your waste to, or forget about altogether.

Once placed, within the bin, add some small twigs. This allows for air flow which in turn, helps the compost to stay activated.

Layering is the key to healthy composting. Some yard waste, some grass clippings, some kitchen scraps, and so on. Never fill the bin with only one type of waste.

Keep scrap sizes on the small size. Waste materials are more readily digested by the compost bin when they’re small. As an example – don’t throw large branches in your bin and expect them to disintegrate in a month’s time. Whenever possible, cut scraps to no larger than 4 inches in size.

Keep your compost moist. This often will happen naturally – based on the items you place inside – but you may need to add some water with the garden hose during the hotter weeks of summer.

Your compost will really work at maximum efficiency when it becomes half full. Don’t worry about running out of space. The compost bin will continually create room by reducing its own volume when active.

Stir it up! Twice a month plan on aerating the compost with a shovel, stick, garden fork, or compost turner.

Shut it up! Keep the lid closed on the bin. You don’t need to attract wildlife or rodents to your bin. If the materials within get soggy, you can lift the lid for a few hours during hot, sunny days when you’re working in the yard to help dry it out if required.

Give it time. Three to ten months is the regular time before compost is ready for use in your garden. You’ll know when composted materials are ready for use (from the bottom of the bin) when the compost has the look of dark soil or black loam.

If you need to speed up the decomposition of the materials in your compost bin, add a shovel or two of light soil or manure to the bin.

More Tips for Healthy Compost Bins

Black bins work best in colder climates. They attract heat from the sun, even in the winter and keep the compost working.

Turning the compost bin’s materials every few weeks keep the compost fermenting.

Composts made with larger ‘chunks’ of ingredients can take up to and over a year to fully break down.

Country Living Author - Laura Childs

Laura Childs
This article on composting was originally published on GoodByeCityLife in the Fields section in 2001.

About Laura Childs

Country Living enthusiast Laura Childs was a downtown city girl for many years before heading to the hills to live a sustainable lifestyle, raise her daughter, get back to the land, and learn the time tested traditions of a simpler era. Throughout her farm life adventures of raising animals, working from home, home schooling her daughter, and being more green, Laura Childs has been sharing on the GoodByeCityLife website through articles and personal musings since 1998.