Home Composting

Compost in wheelbarrow along a path in a garden

Overview

Create a sustainable, healthy place for you, your family and the environment.

Adding compost to your soil improves its structure, helps it absorb and hold moisture, supplies slow-release nutrients to plants and reduces erosion. An integral part of sustainable gardening, composting helps you create a vibrant, healthy and beautiful garden while conserving water and energy, and reducing pollution and waste. Attend one of our free workshops to learn how.

Compost Workshops

Workshops are free and last about 2 hours. If there are fewer than 15 people registered, workshops will be cancelled - so please pre-register. Adults only please.

Additional compost workshops are available throughout Santa Clara County. Here is a list of all the 2023 workshops for ‘Compost Basics’ and ‘Worm Composting Basics’ workshops. Residents are welcome to attend any workshop held in the county.

The Soil Saver™ compost bin and Wriggly Wranch™ worm bin will be available for sale at all workshops.

Workshops are sponsored by the City of Palo Alto, Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission of Santa Clara County, and UCCE Master Gardeners. 

Worm Composting

Worms will eat your kitchen scraps and create a nutrient rich soil amendment for indoor and outdoor plants. This is a no fuss, no smell and low maintenance way to compost. Come to one of our FREE workshops and learn how easy and fun worm composting can be.

All workshops require pre-registration since space is limited.

May 6, 2023
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Lucie Stern Community Center, Community Room
1305 Middlefield Rd.
Palo Alto
Register online or call (408) 918-4640

Compost Basics

Learn how easy it is to turn your yard trimmings and food scraps into compost at home, attend one of these FREE compost workshops.

All workshops require pre-registration since space is limited.

March 4, 2023
Lucie Stern Community Center, Community Room
1305 Middlefield Rd.
Palo Alto
Register online or call (408) 918-4640

April 15, 2023
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Lucie Stern Community Center, Community Room
1305 Middlefield Rd.
Palo Alto
Register online or call (408) 918-4640 

June 03, 2023
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Lucie Stern Community Center, Community Room
1305 Middlefield Rd.
Palo Alto
Register online or call (408) 918-4640 

July 22, 2023
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Lucie Stern Community Center, Community Room
1305 Middlefield Rd.
Palo Alto
Register online or call (408) 918-4640

August 5, 2023
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Lucie Stern Community Center, Community Room
1305 Middlefield Rd.
Palo Alto
Register online or call (408) 918-4640

November 4, 2023
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden
851 Center Drive
Palo Alto
Register online or call (408) 918-4640

 

 

 

 

Free Compost Bins - 2023 Special

Palo Alto residents can receive a free compost bin or worm bin (one per household) by attending a compost workshop. Bins are available while supplies last.

The bins given away are the Soil Saver™ compost bin and Wriggly Wranch™ worm bin.

Compost Party

Learn about composting with your friends and neighbors in your own backyard!  Gather 10-15 friends and neighbors and a Master Composter will come to your home to show you and your guests how to compost. They’ll even start your bin for you during the lesson.

Already have a bin? Host a party and share the joys of composting with your friends, allowing them to learn on an active bin and see a real-life example of how it works. Plus, the Master Composter can help you troubleshoot any problems you might be having.

For more information and to schedule a party, call (650) 496-5910.

Free Garden-Ready Compost

Need more compost than you can make? Don’t have time to make your own? You can get free compost at the following locations:

Compost Giveaway Station

Palo Alto residents can pick up free compost at the new Compost Giveaway Station. 

Location:

Eleanor Pardee Community Garden 
851 Center Road, Palo Alto

Directions:

The Compost Giveaway Station is located at Eleanor Pardee Community Garden, on Center Road near Martin Street.

Hours:

Tuesday through Sunday - 9 AM – 4 PM  
Monday - CLOSED

Availability:

Compost is available while supplies last. 

Guidelines:
  • Palo Alto residents only
  • Bring your own shovel and containers to put compost in
  • Only one car is allowed at the compost pile at a time
  • Pickup limited to 96 gallons per week
  • Drive carefully – gardeners and pedestrians enjoy the garden and are in the area

 

 

What is composting?

Composting is the natural process of decomposition of organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable humus-rich soil amendment known as compost. Anything that grows decomposes eventually; composting simply speeds up the process by providing an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and other decomposing organisms (such as worms, sowbugs, and nematodes) to do their work. The resulting decomposed matter, which often ends up looking like fertile garden soil, is called compost. Fondly referred to by farmers as “black gold,” compost is rich in nutrients and can be used for gardening, horticulture, and agriculture.