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This week’s Virtual Green Classroom Lesson is all about compost. Compost can be used to help soil retain water and fertilize lawns and gardens without chemicals. It’s nature’s way of recycling natural materials.

What is compost? Compost is GREEN organic matter such as vegetable scraps mixed with BROWN matter like dried leaves. Decomposers like microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria and other bugs like rolly pollies, and earthworms help decompose or break down the matter into healthy, nutrient-rich soil which is important for all gardens and the earth.

GREEN matter + BROWN matter + Moisture, oxygen and decomposers = COMPOST

Why do we compost? According to the Austin Recovery Resource Center it is estimated that “half of everything residential customers send to the landfill could have been composted.” And because compostable material cannot break down in a landfill, where our trash is taken, it decomposes without oxygen, releasing harmful methane gas into our air and atmosphere. Not only is composting good for the earth and your garden, it is good for your wallet as you won’t have to buy specialty soil amendments or fertilizer when you use your own compost.

How do we compost? We layer GREEN (Nitrogen) and BROWN (Carbon) matter to make healthy compost. Green matter is nitrogen rich and includes things like old flowers, veggie scraps and coffee grounds. it can be “green” but doesn’t have to be. Brown matter is rich in carbon and includes things like shredded paper/newspapers, straw and dried leaves.

If you are composting at home you want to avoid meat, oils, dairy and large pieces of organic matter like branches.The smaller the matter the quicker it will break down into usable soil. Here in Austin, the City has a curbside composting program to that allows you to compost things that you might not want in your at-home compost such as meat, dairy and even compostable single use things like plates and pizza boxes. Click here to get more information on curbside compost service for your Austin home.

Stacey Murphy and

Prek-2nd Compost Activity

3rd-5th Grade Compost Activity

For more garden activities and ideas click here. Thanks for joining us for this week’s lesson. We will see you in the next post!

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