Backyard Composting & Smart Gardening


You may have heard about composting, but what exactly is composting? Composting is a simple and efficient way to turn organic wastes into rich nutrients for your cherished plants. Just like we can recycle our used products ranging form old bottles and newspapers for reuse, we can also recycle our organic waste such as dead grass, leaves, and even our left over fruits and vegetables into rich black soil through proper composting. Not only is composting great for your plants, the process is extremely easy.


Do you know what composting can do for you? Composting and using compost:

  • Reduces your watering needs
  • Can provide additional nutrients to your plants
  • Helps prevent soil erosion
  • Conserves landfill space

Composting Steps

Home composting is best learned by doing. Through practice and observation, you will find what works best for your home situation, and you can change the process to suit you needs. We strongly recommend that before you give composting a try that you visit the L.A. County Smart Gardening website for more information. Follow these easy steps in order for successful composting.

Step One: Know What and What Not to Compost

Yard and lawn trimmings as well as fruit and vegetable scraps are prime ingredients for composting. These items can range from banana peels and apple cores to old lettuce and leaves. This is a great feast for microbes that will help decompose your wastes. Never add grease, bones, meat or anything that may seem contaminated or insect infested. Also, don't compost pet or human wastes because they carry diseases.

Step Two: Contain Your Compost

Most home composting bins consists of large bins that allow ventilation such as an open trash bin or a manufactured composting bin. Compost bins can also be made with spare wood or a wired hoop. The most important thing is for your compost to be exposed to fresh air.

Step Three: Create Compost

Layer and carefully mix green materials (such as grass clippings, fruits and vegetables) with your brown materials, (such as dry leaves, twigs, and wood chips ) in your bin regularly. Too much green (items high nitrogen content) will hasten the composting process and may cause slime. Too much brown (items high in carbon) will slow the process down. Make sure to cut down large size items to under two inches in size.

Step Four: Maintenance

Water you compost regularly to maintain its moisture. Fluff and mix your compost often to ensure fresh air is able to be absorbed into your compost. Be patient. Allow the microorganism and other decomposers to slowly break down the waste into rich compost.

Grass Recycling

Grass recycling is the natural practice of leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing. This practice can save resources like landfill space, but there are additional benefits as well. Clippings left on the lawn decompose and release nutrients back into the soil. This practices also reduces your clean up time and helps to free up space in yard waste bin. The benefits of grass recycling:

  • Saves time, no more bagging
  • Saves money - less water and fertilizer is needed
  • Encourages a healthier lawn
  • Saves energy and mowing time
  • Saves valuable landfill space


  • Don't cut more than the top third of your grass each time.
  • Mow every five to seven days during spring and summer.
  • Only one inch of water is needed each week.
  • Water in the very early morning hours to reduce evaporation from the heat of the sun.

Additional Information

Monterey Park is home to a smart gardening demonstration site (PDF) located in Garvey Ranch Park.

Composting Event and Workshops

The City collaborates with Athens Services and host a free compose event every year in March at the Garvey Ranch Park parking lot.  The last event was held on March 16, 2019. 

The County of Los Angeles Public Works Department collaborates with the City of Monterey Park and hosts two smart gardening workshops at Garvey Ranch Park every year in March and June. The last workshop was held on June 26, 2019. Stay tuned for more future events!

View a schedule of the workshop events throughout L.A. County online.

Man Composting