Compost is a nutrient and microbe-rich soil amendment made by decomposing organic matter in an oxygen-filled environment. Composting food waste, yard waste, and other organic waste is a simple and effective way to:
- Build healthy, fertile soil for gardeners and farmers.
- Decrease the amount of garbage we produce.
- Reduce methane gas production in landfills.
Composting can be done at any scale - at home, in a community, or industrially.
There are a variety of backyard and indoor methods for home composting. To find out what style will work best for you, take the COMPOST QUIZ! We built this quiz from the results of our 2014-2015 home compost study, "Dishing the Dirt" [full report] [poster].
For a quick introduction to some of the most common home compost methods, check out the SWRC's Composting in 60 Seconds video series.
For information on specific outdoor home compost methods, check out the resources below.
- Compost bins: Compost bins keep organic waste tidy in a sturdy container while it decomposes. They can be small, medium, or large. You can also choose a tumbling compost bin. For more information, watch our videos on Choosing a Compost Bin in 60 Seconds, Backyard Composting in 60 Seconds, Using Finished Compost in 60 Seconds, and Winter Composting in 60 Seconds.
- Trench compost: Trench compost involves burying organic waste under several inches of soil and letting the soil food web do all the work. For more information, watch our Trench Composting in 60 Seconds video.
- Lasagna compost: Lasagna compost uses layers of cardboard and organic waste to smother existing grass or plants and create a new garden bed.
- Grow piles: Grow piles are compost heaps that double as beds for growing squash or other vegetables.
- Mulch: Mulch is a layer of woody organic matter (such as leaves or woodchips) laid on top of garden soil to lock in moisture and reduce weeding.
- Grasscycling: Grasscycling involves leaving grass clippings on the lawn, so they can decompose in place.
Organic waste can also be composted indoors, which is great for spaces like apartments, classrooms, and offices.
- Vermicompost: Vermicompost uses red wiggler earthworms in a small indoor bin to process food waste with no odours. For more information, watch our Vermicomposting in 60 Seconds video or download our Vermicompost Fact Sheet. We also keep a list of current red wiggler earthworms suppliers in Saskatchewan.
- Bokashi buckets: Bokashi composting starts by fermenting food waste in a sealed container. Bokashi buckets can process all food waste including meat scraps, bones, and dairy. For more information, watch our Bokashi Composting in 60 Seconds video or download our Bokashi Fact Sheet.
- Compost tubs: Compost tubs balance ingredients and moisture to compost indoors in a large tub set on a drip tray, similar to an outdoor compost bin.
- Electric/countertop composters: Electric composters are kitchen appliances that use heat, stirring, and time to process food waste. Some units make finished compost, while others simply dehydrate and pulverize food into an easy-to-use powder.
Composting is a great way for communities to reduce waste and meet sustainability goals.
We encourage communities to use the free online composting resources from this page for home composting promotion. The SWRC also offers additional backyard composting programs to municipalities, including our Compost Coach training program. Contact us for more information.
Alternatively, communities can set up large-scale composting programs such as curbside organics collection or drop-off depots. Aerated static piles, windrow composting, and in-vessel compost systems are common methods for composting large volumes of organic waste on the Prairies.
The SWRC puts on an annual Compost Field Day where interested businesses, governments, and individuals can hear from industry experts and tour different large-scale composting sites in Saskatchewan - contact us for more information.
Compost Help in Saskatoon
Residents of Saskatoon can get a $20 rebate from the City when they purchase a compost bin, a rain barrel, or the materials to build one! Visit www.swrc.ca/rebate-form to apply.
Free lessons and information
Residents of Saskatoon also have access to free lessons, workshops, and compost information through the Compost Coach program. The Saskatoon Compost Coaches are a volunteer group coordinated by the SWRC and paid for by the City of Saskatoon. Contact the Compost Coaches to ask a compost question, request a free home visit, or set up a free group workshop!
Phone: (306) 931-3249
Facebook: Saskatoon Compost Coaches
Email: [email protected]
Green carts, compost depots, and other information