Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Composting - Getting Started

~ June 15, 2011

What is composting? Composting is nature’s way of recycling nutrients and organic matter back into the soil for use by new and growing plants. It has been around for centuries and is a great way of returning fertility to and improving your soil quality. To get started all you need is a composting bin, which you can buy or make, compostable material and some patience of course.

There are many options when it comes to choosing an appropriate composting unit. There are composters made from plastic, wood or even wire mesh, however, which one you choose is really dependent on your own personal needs.
If you have a lot of compostable material than building a composting bin is probably the best choice. If you only have food scraps and some garden waste than purchasing one is not a bad choice at all. The Mark’s Choice Compost Tumbler, available at Home Hardware, is an excellent option. The tumbler works aerobically (using oxygen to break down organic matter) but saves you a lot of effort as you do not have to manually turn the pile just simply spin the composter on its stand. My compost tumbler works much faster than a free standing composting unit also.

As a good rule of thumb you can compost pretty much anything that once lived. For example; food scraps, leaves, grass clippings etc. However, there are a few things you should leave out in order to avoid any problems in the future. Do not to compost bones, dairy, fatty/oily foods, fish, meat, or weeds. These materials can produce foul odours and attract unwanted wildlife to the compost heap.

When setting up a composter select a sunny location in your yard that is not too far from your kitchen. This will make adding food scraps convenient, especially in the winter.

For more information about composting go to