What is Compost?

Amendment Product

Compost is the soil amendment product that results from proper composting. Composting is the controlled decomposition of organic material such as leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and vegetable food scraps. The compost produced by backyard composting is an excellent soil conditioner. 


Compost is not considered a fertilizer because it does not contain high amounts of nitrogen, but compost will improve drainage in clay soils and increase water retention in sandy soils. Compost helps soil retain nutrients for a slower, steadier release to plants and grasses. Compost can turn poor quality dirt into rich, fertile soil. It also attracts earthworms that aerate the soil and add additional nutrients.

Contrary to popular belief, composting is not a stinking pile of garbage that attracts every type of disgusting vermin.  Composting does not require a great deal of time and work, but rather it is easy to do and can be accomplished without expensive, complicated composting bins. All that is needed is a kitchen, a yard and/or a garden and a general understanding of the composting process.


All organic material contains carbon and nitrogen in differing ratios. Straw, dried leaves and sawdust, known as “browns”, are higher in carbon. “Greens”, which include grass clippings, garden weeds and cow, horse and chicken manure have a greater concentration of nitrogen. The proper amount of moisture and air combined with these greens and browns create a habitat for billions of microbes, organisms, fungi and bacteria, which aid in the decomposition process.