What is Composting?

Composting is nature's process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose. Basically, backyard composting is an acceleration of the same process nature uses. By composting your organic waste you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Finished compost looks like soil–dark brown, crumbly and smells like a forest floor.

Types of composting:
  • Backyard composting — If you have a yard and a balance of browns (fallen leaves or straw) and greens (grass clippings and food scraps), you have all you need to make compost.

  • Worm composting (vermicomposting) — If you have a tiny yard or live in an apartment or have an abundance of food scraps, this type of composting is for you.

  • Grasscycling If you have grass clippings and don't want to use them in a compost pile you can leave them on the lawn to decompose. Read about grasscycling for tips, techniques and benefits.

Where to Obtain Mulch and Compost

10 good reasons why you should compost:

  1. Yard and food waste make up 30% of the waste stream. Composting your kitchen and yard trimmings helps divert that waste from the landfill, waterways and water treatment facilities.
  2. You will significantly reduce pest problems–and your use of pesticides.
  3. Healthy plants from healthy soil look better, produce better and have a much greater ability to fight off pests and diseases.
  4. Adding organic materials to the soil improves moisture retention.
  5. Adding decomposed organic material to the soil feeds beneficial organisms.
  6. Compost amends both sandy and clay soils.
  7. Compost provides a balanced, slow–release source of nutrients that helps the soil hold nutrients long enough for plants to use them.
  8. Composting saves money–you avoid the cost of buying soil conditioners, bagged manure etc.
  9. Feeding your plants well will improve your own diet. Plants grown in depleted soils have a reduced nutrient content.
  10. Home composting is a valuable tool in educating children about nature and the cycle of life.

Great links for more information

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management:
Pesticides and herbicides from your home and garden spraying can be washed into storm drains and creeks. The storm drains prevent flooding, by sending this run–off to the Bay or the Ocean. But this water is NOT treated. Therefore, these pollutants ultimately reach the Bay or Ocean. The San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program (SMCWPPP) provides information and education about less toxic methods for dealing with pests in your garden.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties:
Donate your excess backyard produce to Second Harvest Food Bank, and help nourish your community.