The most "poopular" compost in the Pacific Northwest

Why Use Zoo Doo?


Zoo Doo compost is a dark, rich humus, ideal for use as a soil amendment to be mixed into raised beds or used as a top dressing on gardens or potted plants. In this way, the nutrients in Zoo Doo are made available to plants while also providing the benefits of water retention, aeration, and improving soil texture.

Our compost isn’t the only way to get these amazing soil benefits; consider composting at home! Visit the Tilth Alliance or call the Garden Hotline at 206.633.0224 for more home-composting information.



Easy Composting at Home

Woodland Park Zoo is not the only place composting can be done, nor does it have to be done on such a large scale. You can create your own compost in your own backyard. It makes sense for the zoo, why not for you?

Composting is a natural process of decay. It goes on around us all the time from the tomato that got left in the back of the fridge last month to the leaves in the yard. When we talk about composting we are simply exploring various ways to assist the natural process.

Composting, at its simplest, requires only four things: Organic material, Moisture, Oxygen and Time.


Worm Doo

Dr. Doo’s private reserve, usually reserved just for the zoo’s greenhouse

Worm Doo is worm castings made from Woodland Park Zoo’s Bedspread compost and organic materials making it a “twice-pooped” commodity! It is an exceptionally rich and fertile soil amendment recommended for seedlings, potted plants or in the garden. Worm Doo has all of the microbes that make Zoo Doo a huge success plus the added benefits of worm castings, like making nutrients more readily available to plants. Look for pint-sized containers in the ZooStores!

Getting Started at Home

Yard Waste

To assist the composting process, the natural decomposers—including microbes and earthworms—need to be fed and cared for.

A properly balanced diet for composting is a thorough mix of fresh (green) and dried (brown) plants—such as fresh grass clippings and old leaves. The more compost material that is chopped or shredded, the faster it will decompose. Gather and mix the shredded materials together in a pile so that about two thirds is brown and one third is green.

  • Add just enough water while building the pile to ensure it stays about as damp as a wrung-out sponge.
  • The compost pile should be large enough to hold the heat; about three to four feet on a side is ideal. This size insulates but still allows sufficient oxygen throughout.
  • Turn the pile occasionally to encourage air flow and to add water as needed to maintain dampness.
  • Given a little time (as little as four to five weeks), you too can create rich, crumbly compost in your own backyard!


Kitchen Waste/Food Scraps

Although food scraps are organic materials, do not include them in an open compost pile. Left in the open, they tend to attract scavenger animals such as squirrels, rats or flies. Vegetable kitchen wastes are best handled in one or more of the following ways:


Bury food wastes in holes dug in the garden. Cover with at least eight inches of soil.


Establish three rows one to two feet wide. In row one, plant this year’s crops. In the adjacent row, bury food wastes. Row three is used as a path. Rotate these rows so that the second year, row one becomes the scrap row, row two the path and row three the food crop row.

Covered Compost Bin

A well secured, sturdy cover will discourage pests from robbing your compost. Try to bury the vegetable waste as well.

Worm Bin (aka Vermicomposting)

Rather than bury the wastes you can also establish a worm bin using compost or manure worms. In this system, set up a container (commonly a box about 3'x2'x1'), mix in shredded newspaper or dried leaves, a little water, food scraps and worms, cover with a top layer of newspaper or leaves, and close the lid. The worms will do the rest.

The simplest method to manage a worm bin is to add food scraps in one half of the bin for about three weeks. Then start working in the other half, again starting with layers of paper or leaves, food and worms. The worms still in the far end will finish their supply and move into the fresher foods leaving their castings behind. These castings can be harvested and used as fine compost.

If you want more information on worm composting, also known as vermicomposting, read Mary Appelhoff's “Worms Eat My Garbage,” published by Flower Field Press.

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |   zooinfo@zoo.org

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Humane Certification