Back Yard Composting

  1. Find a sunny spot on your property within reach of your garden hose.
  2. Design your compost area to compliment your yard or garden. It can be made from landscaping bricks to wire fencing.
  3. Follow the West Central Iowa Solid Waste Backyard Composting Recipe, and do a little further research, there are many items that can be composted beyond the list on the recipe card.
  4. NEVER add meats, bones, fish, dairy, cooking oils, pet waste or cat litter.
  5. Gather carbon materials and store in your compost area.
  6. Begin collecting your kitchen “greens” and add to your compost area, layer with the carbon materials previously collected.
  7. Occasionally water, stir or flip the materials.
  8. Winter Composting
    Only add kitchen scraps during the winter…NO carbon materials. Begin remixing your materials when it begins to thaw in the spring.
  9. Your compost area will decompose at different rates throughout the year. Gather the black decomposed soil amendment from the bottom of compost area. It can be sprinkled directly over your lawn or around trees for fertilizer and a moisture enriching supplement. It can be mixed with existing garden soil or potting soil at a 1-part compost to 2- parts soil ratio.


If the Back Yard Composting Recipe is followed correctly, there will be little or no smell from your compost area. If there is an odor, it is an earthy forest floor type of smell. If any items from the avoid list are added you may have odors or attract rodents.