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Gardener's Notebook: Composting revisited

Residents can bring grass clippings, leaves, garden waste and potting material to the landfill free of charge.
Compost can benefit your gardens. (File Photo)

YORKTON - I promised you that we’d talk more about the composting program at the Yorkton Landfill, so I was able to interview Lyndon Hicks who gave our hort group a tour of the amazing landfill.

Probably at lot of people probably think the only thing that happens at the landfill is dropping off garbage. But there’s a lot more, a lot of great things happening! I asked Lyndon when the composting program began.

“The city has been accepting compostable material from both residents and businesses for several years.” Lyndon said. “The main reason for this program was to keep this organic material out of the landfill while generating a product that is usable for the future. Keeping this material out of the landfill cell prolongs the life of the landfill which ultimately saves the city money.”

Lyndon added that “Residents can bring grass clippings, leaves, garden waste and potting material to the landfill free of charge. The landfill will NOT accept trees free of charge. During the summer months RecyclAbilities Enterprises also accepts compostable yard waste free of charge.

I wondered if composting on such a large scale is similar to what we do in our home gardens. Do these compost piles get turned? Lyndon said that “The city puts the compost into rows which are regularly turned to help promote decomposition by allowing enough oxygen for microbes to work while maintaining a desired temperature to destroy pathogen’s and weed seeds.”.”

But there’s more. Lyndon explained that other natural materials are brought to the site for composting. “The main components to the cities compost are grains/agricultural screenings, yard and garden waste, wood chips and biosolids from the waste water treatment plant.”

So as you can imagine, there is a lot of compost being made at the landfill site. I asked Lyndon what will ultimately happen to that compost. “In the next 5-10 years we will be required to decommission the current operating landfill cell. Part of the decommissioning process includes capping the currently used area with approximately 1 meter of soil. Obviously this will require a significant amount of product. Much of the product used for capping will be on-site compost made in previous years.”

And some advice for homeowners about composting? “Backyard composting is a fun and easy way to deal with yard, garden, and produce food wastes.” Lyndon remarked. “Backyard composting can benefit lawns and gardens by adding the finished compost to help your garden grow. More information on backyard composting can be found on the City of Yorkton webpage by searching ‘compost’.”

Thank you, Lyndon, for taking the time to talk to us and explain more about this important program; and thank you to the terrific team at the Yorkton Landfill for making it all happen! See what’s new with the hort society by visiting us at Thank you to our friends at YTW for their great work every week. This is a beautiful time of year; enjoy your time in the fall garden, getting it ready for winter! Have a good week!