Composting Logo


Black Gold for the Garden

The best fertilizer for your plants and garden is compost. It’s all-natural and you can make it yourself at virtually no cost with little effort. It’s so rich in nutrients that gardeners call compost “black gold.”

Compost is a dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling material produced by the natural decomposition of leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps and many other organic materials. Turn your kitchen waste into great fertilizer for your vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees.

The added benefit for the environment is that you’re sending less household and yard waste to the local landfill. Charles County, Maryland government estimates that 20 percent of all trash that goes to the county landfill could be used for compost instead.

Charles County Master Gardeners join with the Charles County government each year to conduct in-person workshops for county residents on how to compost and how to install rain barrels. Upcoming workshops will be posted on our Master Gardener home page.

  • Photo of two MG volunteers
  • Photo of volunteers creating a compost bin

Composting Dos and Don'ts

Great materials for composting:

  • Kitchen vegetable and fruit scraps

  • Coffee grounds and tea bags

  • Dry leaves

  • Grass clippings (untreated)

  • Newsprint, shredded copier paper and other nonglossy paper

  • Pine needles

  • Straw and hay (untreated)

  • Shrub and yard trimmings

  • Manure from chickens, horses and other farm animals

  • Wood chips and sawdust

Do not compost:

  • Kitchen meat or dairy scraps

  • Oils such as cooking oil or salad dressing

  • Pet feces

  • Plastic

  • Petroleum products

Composting 101

  • Composting Video

    Learn How to Compost at Home

    Easy steps to composting at home and creating your own gardening “black gold.”