Composting Basics: From Garbage to Garden

28 Aug

Just like we need nutrients to stay healthy and strong, your garden looks and produces better when it gets proper nutrition. By turning table scraps and a number of other things into compost you help create healthy soil where your plants can thrive.  Our Teaching Gardeners at Cook Elementary in Chula Vista California are starting their own compost bin this year. Read this excerpt from their blog below!

cook compost 1

Composting began officially today at Cook School in the Teaching Garden. Unused lettuce, tomatoes and cauliflower were added to a mix of dry leaves, plant matter and sticks. We are on our way to better soil.

cook compost


Composting Do’s

If you’re ready to create your own compost bin remember it’s important to balance “greens” and “browns”. A good rule of thumb is to remember that greens come from the kitchen and browns come from outside. Layer greens and browns to give your plants the most productive soil.


  • Fruit or veggies scraps
  • Table scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Egg shells



  • Small sticks
  • Dry leaves
  • Dry grass clippings or hay
  • Wood shavings
  • Sawdust from untreated wood
  • Shredded paper, newspaper


Composting Don’ts

Keep animal products, sick or infested plants, pet waste, and non-organic materials like chemicals or plastics out of your compost. These materials can slow the compost’s breakdown, attract wildlife or even poison your garden.  Remember you’re making your plant’s food, so if you don’t want it in the garden keep it out of the pile.

Are you composting for your school garden this year? How did you get started?


One Response to “Composting Basics: From Garbage to Garden”


  1. Winter To-Do List | teachinggardens - January 28, 2014

    […] compost pile allows you to recycle food scraps and create fertile soil for the garden. Get started over the cool months to make sure you have plenty of healthy soil for your new […]

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