Composting FAQs

Composting is the best way to dispose of your yard and garden wastes.  Plus, it can be used to improve the growing conditions in your garden!

Compost is decomposed plant material.  When fully composted, the final product resembles soil and while it can provide small amounts of nutrients, its most important function is to increase the organic matter content of the soil. Adding compost to garden soil improves soil structure by making it more granular. Building up organic matter in soil increases both its water-holding capacity and its productive ability. Plants growing in such soil can better withstand drought conditions. Composting is very sustainable allowing you to reduce the amount of waste that must be hauled off-site.  By keeping and using organic wastes on-site, there is no need to spend time, energy, or resources to haul waste or soil amendments back and forth from your garden.

Compost is sometimes referred to as "black gold" because of how valuable it is in your garden.  Thankfully, unlike gold, it doesn't cost a lot to create or use.  

Below are resources and frequently asked questions on composting.  


Composting Resources

Composting yard waste publication

Composting Yard Waste
(publication)

Questions about composting pub

Questions About Composting 
(publication)

Composting fall leaves video

Composting Fall Leaves
(video)

Manure in wheelbarrow by gabort Adobestock

Using Manure in the Home Garden

Worm compost By Natalia AdobeStock

How to Create and Use Vermicompost


Composting FAQs

compost benefits By SUPHANSA AdobeStock
What are the benefits of compost?
Construct By Elenathewise AdobeStock
How do you construct a compost pile?
Nutrients in compost By Jérôme Rommé AdobeStock
What is the nutrient content of composted leaves?
Layers of Compost By hopsalka AdobeStock
How long does it take a compost pile to break down?
Compost pile by paultate AdobeStock
How can I accelerate the decomposition of leaves in my compost pile?
Adding lime to compost By SoilPaparazzi AdobeStock
Do I need to add an activator to my compost pile?
Steaming Compost By Davivd AdobeStock
Why does my compost steam?
Steaming compost By Marco Warm AdobeStock
Will a compost pile produce objectionable odors?

What Can Be Put in a Compost Pile

Materials to Add to Compost by Dirk AdobeStock
What types of material can be placed in a compost pile?
Weeds By Vera Kuttelvaserova AdobeStock
What types of materials should not be added to a compost pile?
Diseased leaf By Sombat AdobeStock
Can I put disease-infested plant material in my compost pile?
Weeds By Vera Kuttelvaserova AdobeStock
Can I place weeds and diseased plant debris from the vegetable garden in the compost pile?
dog by compost By Karoline Thalhofer AdobeStock
Can dog or cat feces be placed in the compost pile?
Pesticide sign By Vera Kuttelvaserova AdobeStock
I recently treated my lawn with a broadleaf herbicide. Can I place grass clippings in the compost pile?
Rhubarb leaves By Øyvind AdobeStock
Are rhubarb leaves safe to put in the compost pile?
 

Additional Resources

Authors:
Last reviewed:
November 2023