Organics make up 35% of Deer Lake residents’ waste. Composting is a natural process that turns organic waste into rich soil that can be used as a valuable resource in gardens or flower beds. Composting is fun, easy and very beneficial for you and your garden, your community and the environment. Turn those table scraps into treasure in no time and with little effort!
What can be composted?
In composting, the secret is to balance greens, browns, air and water. The most important things that you can compost are listed in the following table. However, you would be surprised by some other things that are suitable for certain composts. Browse the internet to find out what else you can add onto that pile of fun!
GREENS = nitrogen-rich items
- fruits & vegetables
- bread & grains
- coffee grounds
- tea bags
- shredded paper
- plant and grass clippings
- fresh leaves
- hair & fur
BROWNS = carbon-rich items
- wood chips
- dead leaves/plants
- twigs & branches
- shredded newspaper or paper bags
- shredded cardboard
- cardboard rolls
- fireplace ashes
How to compost?
There are several ways you can engage in composting, both indoors and outdoors and for the hands-on or hands-off composter.
Indoor composting – compact homemade compost bin for indoors. Tips on how to make one can be found here.
Backyard composting – create a pile of fun in your own backyard. Some easy steps towards backyard composting are described in this document.
Deer Lake community compost – participate in our community compost program – residents have a compost site available in Evergreen Lane.
Did you know… that there are several more ways you can compost? Not sure which one suits you best? Take this quiz provided by Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council.
A.D.A.M. is an easy mnemonic to remember how to compost.
- A – Aliveness: anything that is alive or has been alive, so basically everything that grows or has grown, can be used for composting.
- D – Diversity: a mix of materials ensures the right ratio of nitrogen: carbon, this should be more or less 50/50 by volume.
- A – Aeration: air is necessary for the decomposition of organic materials.
- M – Moisture: keep the compost moist, not saturated.
Did you know… that one ton of organic waste composted saves one ton of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Way to combat climate change!
Trouble Shooting – Common Problems and Solutions
Occasionally, a compost pile’s performance is less than optimal. Keep in mind that A.D.A.M. is the solution to all of your issues! If your pile is:
- Too wet – turn, add browns or dry materials and cover.
- Too dry – turn, add water and mix thoroughly.
- Too warm to the touch – turn and add greens.
- Emitting strong odours – turn the pile and add browns.
- Not heating up – if the pile is damp and sweet smelling but not heating, it may need nitrogen. Add greens like grass clippings and table scraps.
- Attracting pests – make sure you have not put meat, dairy, or fat products into your compost bin. Keep the pile covered, well aerated, and turn food scraps into the pile.
More information on composting and how to start composting can be found in the MMSB Backyard Composting Guide.
How to use compost in your garden?
Finished compost, known as humus, is dark and crumbly and has an earthy smell. By using compost in your garden, you enrich the soil with organic matter, improving heat and moisture retention. Enriched soil promotes the growth of healthy plants and lawns. Uses for finished compost:
- Use as mulch around trees, shrubs and plants.
- Mix with potting soil for use in potted house plants.
- Dig compost into the soil of new garden beds.
- Use as top dressing on established flower beds, gardens, and lawns.