We have developed the content and format of a back
yard composting workshop in 2014. The workshops was designed to be
5 hours with comprehensive and in-depth discussions of soil,
composting benefits and techniques and the impact of gardening. The
workshop was first delivered to City of Calgary employees, modified
based on their feedback and then an other session was delivered
later in the Spring. Two subsequent sessions were scheduled but,
due to inclement weather, were postponed and will be offtered in
the Spring of 2015. Participants received a free compost turner
from Lee Valley Tools.
With the support of Society volunteers, the CBC
Do-Crew, and a grant from TD Friends of the Environment, three
large-size demonstration compost bins were constructed in an
education workshop this Spring. These were built in the
demonstration and teaching garden onsite on site of the CHS garden.
Additional Yard Smart modifications were also completed, such as
redirecting downspouts for use with rain barrels. Angelia Knight,
Co-host of the Calgary EyeOpener on CBC Radio and Do-Crew Volunteer
Team Leader, was onsite for the work in the garden. Angela Knight
interviewed Kath Smyth (workshop leader) and Janet Melrose, CHS
Horticulturalist and Garden Animator, about the compost building
project and the benefits of composting.
Creating and using compost from your organic waste
is a natural way to fertilize your garden and build healthy
- When you start using compost, soil holds water better and
discourages weeds. Your gardens and lawns become less dependent on
chemicals and become more nutrient-rich.
- It's also a great way to cut your weekly garbage load almost in
half and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the
- Healthy composted soil will help your plants stay healthy and
help keep water in the soil.
What are the basic steps to
- Organic material is divided in to "Greens" (nitrogen rich) and
"Browns" (carbon rich). Green materials are usually moist like your
fruit and veggie scraps, fresh grass clippings or fresh fallen
leaves. Brown materials are dried like dry brown leaves or dry
- You will need to add one-part greens for every part of browns
to build a balanced compost heap. It is recommended by some that
you layer your greens and browns. However, as long as the ratio is
one-part green materials to one- part brown materials, it is not
necessary to layer the material as you will be turning the pile
mixing these two types of materials anyhow.
- Add water. Effective composting requires moisture. Add water
when you first start your compost pile and each time you turn your
pile. The compost pile should be as moist as a wrung out sponge to
be composting effectively.
- Turn your pile with a compost aerating tool, pitchfork or
shovel every couple of weeks during the growing season to provide
an adequate air supply.
When is it ready?
Your composted material is ready to use when it has
an "earthy" smell
How do I use compost?
Compost is not a soil. It is a soil amendment that
will add organic matter, microbes and nutrients to your soil.
Typically the ratio for use is one-part compost to three - parts