Composting is a great way to reduce food waste, your carbon footprint, and greatly improve your garden.

Composting takes patience and practice, each is unique, and you’ll find what works for you.

You can start a compost in any sized bin. The key to odourless and pest free compost is maintaining a balance of green and brown.

Photo: Gardening Know How

Green includes:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Leaves
  • Grass clippings


  • Weeds -you’ll be using this on your garden and you don’t want to sow weed seeds in your garden
  • Meat – will attract pests and turn rancid
  • Fats – will attract pests and turn rancid
  • Dairy – will attract pests and turn rancid
  • Bread – has sugar that will break down into vinegar and smell

Brown includes:

  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Straw or hay

Depending on the size of your bin, you want around a ratio of browns to green 4:1 or 3:1.

Common issues:

  • Smell
    • Add more brown, there is too much green and it is becoming acidic
  • Flies
    • Add more brown, again, there is too much green and it is attracting pests
  • Not breaking down quickly
    • Try turning the compost every 2 weeks
    • Add a little more green, your compost may be too dry to heat up

More information from the City of Richmond here.

More information:

Types of bins:

You can also try worm composting – also known vermicomposting

How to Make Compost Step by Step | Better Homes & Gardens

Use red wigglers, a type of worm that breaks down vegetable matter quickly. They are sensitive to temperature and light. Keep around 10-20 degrees Celcius.

More information:                                                                                            Photo: British Home Gardening