Get outside this winter at the Garden! Advance tickets are required. Learn more.

Plants & Gardens Blog

Compost in the City

Without healthy soil, you can’t have healthy plants and the key to healthy soil is compost. Compost is a dark, crumbly nutrient-rich material that improves microbial activity, retains moisture, and helps to alleviate compaction. Best of all it’s made from everyday items that would otherwise go into the trash.

Organic waste such as vegetable and fruit scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, yard waste, fallen leaves, grass clippings, and even shredded newspaper can all be turned into compost. The NYC Compost Project, a program of the NYC Department of Sanitation, works with community gardens, schools, teachers, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to teach folks all the ins and outs of composting. The project’s Brooklyn partner, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, is now in its 17th year teaching Brooklynites how to reduce waste and produce organic, chemical-free fertilizer for their backyards, street trees, and community gardens. In addition to offering workshops and a master composter certificate program at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the project also works with local greening groups to provide technical assistance and advice.

While many New Yorkers are saying good-bye to summer, the NYC Compost Project in Brooklyn is gearing up for fall. It will be participating in a number of upcoming events in September and would love for you and your family to stop by and say hi. On Friday, September 17, in conjunction with Transportation Alternatives, the NYC Compost Project is staging a temporary park—“Compost More, Waste Less!”—for Park(ing) Day 2010 (Check out This Park(ing) Spot will be in front of Brooklyn Law School at Adams and Joralemon in downtown Brooklyn. Finally, on Sunday, September 19, from noon to 6 p.m. the NYC Compost Project will be talking to folks all day at Move About Myrtle.

In addition to its educational initiatives, the project offers compost bins at the reduced price of $60 to NYC residents. If you are interested in buying a bin, please contact the NYC Compost Project in Brooklyn through BBG’s Compost Hotline at 718-623-7290, or email [email protected] For more information on composting and to register for a workshop, visit BBG’s Guide to Composting Organic Waste.

Emily-Bell Dinan is a former project coordinator of the NYC Compost Project hosted by Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Submit a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this article. Comments are moderated and will be posted after BBG staff review. Your email address is required; it will not be displayed, but may be needed to confirm your comments.

Image, top of page: