My backyard compost options

NYC has a great resource in the Lower Eastside Ecology Center.  They have lots and lots of information, they coordinate with community gardens for resident food waste drop-off and they even sell worms for vermiculture.   We also have botanical gardens in each of the five boroughs, all of which offer some level of compost education including the Queens Botanical Garden nearest me.

The only thing is it is February.  Not a hoppin’ time for compost workshops or info sessions. But that’s ok because thanks to Google I learned the following from a number of sources today that all pretty much all said the same thing:

  • Create a 50%/50% mix of carbon rich materials and nitrogen rich materials
  • Turn the pile regularly and make sure it is not too moist and not too dry
  • Don’t ever add any meat, dairy, grease.  Don’t add weeds or diseased plants or animal feces.
  • Pests shouldn’t be a problem if you do all of the above.

I think I can handle that.  Now I have to figure out how to contain my pile in the backyard.  I found a multitude of compost bin options.  I don’t have an abundance of space, but I do have some room to maneuver.  The two compost bins that are on the top of my list right now are:

  1. The make-your-own with 2×4’s and hardware cloth that is referred to as a portable wood and wire composting bin.
  2. Ready to purchase plastic compost bins such as the “Garden Gourmet”

Mid-winter may not be the best time to get started, but hey, I’m the last person who needs yet another excuse to put off backyard composting.


About Amy Marpman

Director of Recycling Services at Great Forest, Inc. in NYC. Continually finding the balance of idealism with the practical realities that make or break recycling programs.
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