Composting is the recycling of fully decomposed organic matter such as food scraps, fallen leaves and grass clippings. Compost can be used as an amendment for your garden, potted plants or lawn; it helps keep soil healthy, vital, and nutrient rich.
Creating compost not only reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill, but when added to soil, compost can tremendously improve soil’s ability to retain moisture. When your soil has proper water retention, less water is needed to keep your garden or lawn healthy. Since we’re facing a historic drought in California, and with 100% of our water in Ventura coming from all local sources, in these dry times, conserving this precious natural resource is paramount.
Composting is a balance of carbon-rich materials known as “browns” and nitrogen-rich materials called “greens.” Browns are dry, woody materials such as dry leaves, pruned bushes, and newspaper. Greens include grass clippings, freshly cut weeds, flowers, food scraps, vegetable and fruit peels. The greens tend to be more prevalent in the summer months and can throw off the balance in the bin.
Fallen leaves that provide needed carbon are easier to find in the fall and winter. Newspaper can work as a brown or carbon source but make sure it is not more than 10% of your compost pile by volume. A better option is corrugated cardboard torn into small pieces. This may be a good use of a pizza box or other stained or wet box that can’t be recycled. The corrugated texture traps air and aids in the composting process. Wood chips and straw are other good options.
Items to leave out of the compost include: fish, meat, oil/grease, diseased plants, and dairy.