Organic materials such as yard and food waste account for 33% of the waste generated in a typical Monterey County household. Composting this material at the curb or at home is a great way to prevent waste and create a new valuable resource – compost.

Composting is nature’s way of recycling organic materials and returning nutrients to the soil. Over time, organic matter such as leaves, grass clippings, twigs, and fruit and vegetable food scraps, biologically decompose into a dark, crumbly soil conditioner called compost. The practice of creating and maintaining a home compost pile or bin accelerates this process. In vermicomposting, earthworms are used to break down food scraps specifically. The finished product, vermicompost, is considered by some to be the “black gold” for gardening.

Using finished compost in your garden:

• Returns nutrients to the soil

• Increases biology; converting nutrients into plant-available food, strengthening plant defenses and increasing organic matter.

• Improves water retention

• Helps improve soil structure

Whether you have trees and shrubs, a large garden, or a few container plants, anything you grow will benefit from compost.