Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Composting is a great way to convert decomposable organic materials into nutrient rich soil amender and fertilizer and reduce land fill waste.

Composting relies on four key ingredients: Nitrogen, Carbon, Oxygen and Water.
Creating a successful compost means using the right mixture of "brown" and "green" materials, and ensuring that adequate levels of oxygen and moisture are present.
Brown Ingredients are high in carbon and include paper, straw, hay, autumn leaves etc.

Green Ingredients are high in nitrogen and include garden refuse, tea/coffee, food scraps, grass clippings etc. An approximate 50:50 ratio of Brown and Green ingredients works best.

How it Works:
Naturally occurring microorganisms, fungi, and insects feed on waste which produces heat. As the temperature rises, decomposition increases and harmful bacteria is kept at bay. When the temperature drops, turning the pile adds oxygen and once again increases the temperature. When the temperature drops for the final time, earthworms and other beneficial critters move in and this signals that the compost is ready for garden use! The finished product should be a dark, crumbly, nutrient rich humus.

What too compost:
grass clipping, leaves, uncooked food, egg shells, fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee grinds, paper, garden refuse, straw, hay etc.
*NO cooked food (cooked food attracts rodent and smells)
Some things to make note of:
1) A vile smell surrounding your compost may indicate anaerobic conditions (no oxygen), keeping the compost pile aerated will fix this.
2) Should you find your compost to dry, make some holes in the pile and allow a hose to run over the top (this way it seeps in the through holes and doesn't become too saturated).
3) For a compost which receives little or no aerating (turning/stirring), refrain from using brown ingredients as they steal nitrogen.

Composters can be bought for $25 through the City of Vancouver:

For some other great tips visit metro vancouver:

Note: Vancouver City now accepts compost in the Yard Trimmings bins.

Swick's Landscaping builds and maintains both strata and residential composts, this reduces costs of fertilizers as well as waste disposal. When ready you can then use the top soil to top up all your garden beds. Please contact Swicks for your own compost!

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