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Backyard Composting

Compost and Soil

Composting is easy

Composting is easy and a great way to recycle yard waste and kitchen scraps into a fertile, sweet-smelling soil builder.

Compost helps grow healthier gardens, lawns, trees, and shrubs that need less water, pesticides, and fertilizer too.

Learn all about it

Read the Composting at Home Guide (pdf), or start with key tips from the Guide, below. Use compost to beautify your yard!

Get started

Choose the composting system that’s right for you, depending on what you want to compost:

  • Yard Waste Composting - For leaves, grass clippings, dead plants, stalks, and twigs. A simple open bin or pile, plus water, is all it takes to make soil-like compost in 6 months to a year.
  • Food Waste Composting - For vegetable scraps, soiled paper, and spoiled food, but not meat, dairy, or any animal product. You need a rodent-proof bin like a worm bin or Green Cone, or just bury food waste under the soil.
  • Purchase a compost bin from the Seattle Conservation Corps. Information on suppliers of other compost bins, compost for sale, and more is in the Compost Resource List (pdf).
  • Using Compost - Either from your bin or purchased in bags or bulk, is as easy as spreading it under shrubs and perennials, on lawns, or digging compost into garden beds.
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Questions?

Ask your questions, and request a free copy of the Composting guide. Contact the experts at the Garden Hotline at (206) 633-0224 (language interpretation available) or email help@gardenhotline.org.

Print material

Compost Resource List (pdf) - Bin suppliers, where to buy compost, tools, and more.
Composting Questions & Answers (pdf) - Answers to some common questions.
Growing Healthy Soil Guide (pdf) - Has more information on using compost and mulches for a healthy, easy-care yard.
Smart Watering Guide (pdf) - Tells how compost can help conserve water.
Get To Know Your Soil (pdf) - Fact sheet describes common soil problems and solutions.
Ecologically Sound Lawn Care Manual (pdf) - Tells professionals (and interested residents) how to amend soil for lawns (page 28 of that PDF), and how to improve existing lawns by topdressing with compost (page 35).

Links to other sites

Seattle Tilth - Offers classes in composting and organic gardening.
Soils for Salmon - Shows building and design professionals how to use compost to reduce storm runoff, protect our watersheds, and grow healthier landscapes.