know?Wood ashes from your fireplace can also be put into your composter.
All leaf and yard waste collected throughout Barrie is brought to the landfill where it is composted into a marvelous, rich, and crumbly layer of organic matter. Residents can also start their own backyard compost.
Home grown compost is nature's gift to any gardener and free of unwanted plant seeds due to the high temperatures reached during the composting process.
Not available at this timeCompost is generated from Barrie's leaf and yard waste collection program, processed as per the Ontario Guidelines for Compost Quality and, when available, is sold at the landfill.
Warm weather has arrived! It's a great time to check on your backyard composter! What better time than this week, as we celebrate Compost Awareness Week!
During the long winter, many of us with backyard composters are guilty of the “dump and dash." The cold weather sometimes prevents us from caring for our composter but we still use it as a place to dispose of some of our food scraps (fruits and vegetables). Warm weather jump starts the good bacteria working again. As you plan your vegetable and flower gardens, here are some tips to get your composter ready:
Don't have a backyard composter in your backyard? Don't worry – your green bin contents are transformed into compost that can be used for growing fruits, vegetables and flowers. Not only is the City of Barrie's Green Bin program a great way to help reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill it also creates a nutrient-rich compost that can be used to feed and nourish gardens, lawns and parks.
But let's be honest: we all know using the green bin can get a bit more challenging in the summer as the temperature heats up. Bugs and odour can become an issue, but don't let it stop you! Check out Overcoming Organics Obstacles for some tips on using your green bin in the summer. Not sure where your waste goes? Find out by using the waste sorting look up tool.
Using your green bin and/or composting your kitchen and yard waste can cut your household waste almost in half and dramatically reduce the amount of household garbage going to our rapidly filling landfill.
The benefits of using compost include:
From the Garden:
From the Kitchen:
Unacceptable Items (the odour from some of these items attracts pests!):
The FreeGarden Easth composter is available at the City of Barrie's Environmental Centre to Barrie residents only. The FreeGarden Earth composter is a static backyard composter and is $34 (plus tax).
Composting can take anywhere from six months to two years depending on the amount of organics being composted, the aeration and the amount of water.
Turning your compost frequently to aerate it will help speed up the process. Breaking the organics into smaller pieces will also help by increasing the surface area for the micro-organisms to do their work.
Your compost should not smell if it is working well. If you notice an unpleasant odour, you could have too much water in your compost, or it may be too compacted. You should turn the pile frequently to aerate it and help speed up the process. You can also add some cardboard egg cartons, or autumn leaves to help soak up the moisture. If you are adding grass clippings to your compost, only add small amounts as they are high in nitrogen and will cause an unpleasant odour when added in large quantities.
Choose a spot where there is good water drainage. If the drainage is extremely good, then you need to place it in a shady spot so the compost does not dry out. If the drainage is poor, a spot in the sun is ideal.
**As a courtesy to your neighbours, please place your composter approximately 1 metre (3 ft) away from your adjoining fence line(s).
Yes! Composting generates heat. In the cold winter months, the process will just slow down a little. Continue to add organics to your composter even if it is frozen, the process will continue when the heap thaws out.
Are there pests in your neighbourhood? You may not even be aware of any small critters like raccoons, mice rats, insects, etc., until you start to compost. Previously unnoticed pests may now be looking for a new source of food or a cozy bed in your compost pile. The best solution is prevention. If you compost correctly, your pile will be less attractive to pests. The following information outlines some general tips and specific methods of protecting your compost pile. Composting will not encourage pest populations to move into your area, though a neglected pile may attract local populations and make them more visible to you.
Pests will be less likely to discover your compost if they are not already attracted by other sources. It's a good idea to put your plastic garbage bags into a container at the curb, or to not put out your garbage bags until the morning of collection. Keep leaves and other materials for your pile in a secure garbage can near the composter. Piles of yard waste can provide a safe, warm place for pests to hide or nest. Food waste to be added to the compost pile should be kept in a sealed container away from the bin. Sources of fresh water and bird seed also attract some pests.
Flies, wasps, hornets and bees can be discouraged from invading your compost bin by covering any exposed food with a 2.5 cm (1 inch) layer of soil or by burying fresh food into the pile. Add air to your compost pile by turning it or create air channels by plunging a broomstick handle into the pile. Keep the pile slightly damp so that it will heat up. Higher temperatures and moisture will kill any fly larvae and discourage bees, wasps and hornets from nesting. If a nest has already been set up in your bin, soak the pile completely with a hose and spray nozzle and leave it damp until the colony vacates the pile. The pile can also be dismantled after freeze up in the fall.
Pest proofing your bin, as described below, will prevent any animals from tunneling up through the bottom, climbing into the bin from the sides or top, or chewing holes in the bin.
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