Composting at Home
Composting is a fun and rewarding activity for the entire family and it is great for the environment too. On this page you'll find some useful information about composting at home.
Recommended Products (all available at Ace Alameda Station)
Compost Keeper - Countertop container with charcoal filter available in white ceramic or stainless steel. Or, step-on floor container from Simple Human available in stainless steel. This makes it convenient to store kitchen waste for your compost pile. If it is easy, the whole family will participate.
Paper Lawn & Leaf Bags - Paper lawn & leaf bags are 100% biodegradable making them superior to plastic refuse bags. These bags are idea for storing yard waste and Fall leaves for your compost pile.
Geo Bin Composter - The Geo Bin is an economical way to build and contain your compost pile in the backyard. The Geo Bin sets up in minutes and is 36" round and 36" tall. We also offer more sophisticated, "continuous feed" / "continuous harvest" composters.
The Worm Factory - This is the ultimate tool for year-round, worm-based composting. The multi-tray system allows you to continuously load and harvest your compost. The Worm Factory is odor-free and can be used indoors our outdoors (outdoors above 40°).
Other Supplies - A garden trowel, hand rake and pitchfork all come-in handy for maintaining your compost pile. A fruit fly trap is often handy if composting indoors.
Size: You compost pile should be between 3' x 3' x 3' and 5' x 5' x 5'. We suggest a "bin" to contain your compost pile.
Surface Area: "Greens" and "browns" should be chopped into 1" to 2" pieces. Small pieces will increase the surface area of your pile and stimulate airflow.
Composition: Alternate 3"-6" layers of "greens" and "browns" to start. You are seeking a mix of 25-30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen in your pile. Mix the "green" and "brown" layers as you build them. Avoid meats, fats, dairy products, bones, feces, crab grass, weeds with mature seeds, diseased plants and plants treated with chemicals. See a list of "greens" and "browns" below.
Water: Add enough water to your pile so it is the consistency of a wrung-out sponge. A pile that is too wet will smell bad. A pile that is too dry will take longer to decompose.
Air: Turn the soil where the pile is to be placed to stimulate airflow. You can also build the pile on-top of branches, wire mesh or an old wooden pallet. Turn your pile when the internal temperature reaches 131° to 140°F. In warm weather turn your pile weekly. Finished compost will no longer heat above 110° and will have shrunk to 1/2 its original volume.
Greens: Fruit rinds, bananas and peels, beans, beet tops, berries, broccoli, carrots and tops, celery, coffee grounds, pet hair, garden waste, overgrown vegetables, grass clippings (no pesticides), moldy food (no meat, fat, cheese or bones), onions and skins, green leaves, spent hops, human hair, lettuce, manure from herbivores only, melons, pond algae, potatoes and peels, pumpkins, squash, recycled water from cleaned-out fish tanks, weeds without mature seeds.
Browns: Paper, shredded eggshells, end-of-season annual plants, straw, saw dust (small amounts), cotton string, oats, cabbage and broccoli stalks, grain hulls, tissue and cardboard cores, wool, autumn leaves, dryer lint, lawn thatch, turnips, peanut husks, stalks from perennial plants, chipped branches, vacuum cleaner sweepings, coffee filters, corn cobs, corn stalks, cotton, landscape trimmings, paper towels.