Are you planning a garden this year? If you grow vegetables, herbs or flowers you should consider composting. Compost can even be used in your indoor plants.
What Is Compost?
Compost is a rich, dark plant food that is made from household garbage which is organic in nature – think egg shells and banana peels.
Usually compost is stored in a composter or container outside in a sunny area. There are several different methods of composting. Depending how much work you want to put into composting and what your budget is, you can compost in a tumbler which turns it for you and you can also compost in a heap in a sunny corner of your yard. Compost needs heat and dry brown material like dead leaves added to it.
Tending to your compost means turning it and wetting it on a regular basis. The end result is black gold – organic food that your veggies and flowers will love. Growing your own food and composting are great ways to reduce your carbon footprint, as well as save money and use what you’re throwing away anyway instead of buying costly chemical fertilizers and foods.
What Can You Compost?
The most common ingredients in compost are food scraps. The tops of celery stalks, coffee grinds, overripe fruit – there are so many food scraps we throw away every day that could be kept out of the landfill and made into food for your plants. Here is a list of 9 compostable things that you haven’t thought of:
- Paper towels and tissues – Don’t throw away your used paper towels and tissues. Throw them right in your compost.
- Old cotton socks and underwear – Those old holy socks and undies are made of organic material and are fair game for the compost heap.
- Cardboard– Toilet paper and paper towel rolls, pizza and cereal boxes, etc. Just be sure to cut cardboard into small pieces so it breaks down faster.
- Fireplace ashes – The compost pile is the perfect place to dump out the ashes of a wood fire. Roses love compost made with ashes.
- Nail clippings– Yours and your pets’ . I know this one is kind of creepy but you’re going to throw them out anyway. If you have a composting can or crock in your kitchen why not trim your nails over it and kill two birds with one stone?
- Vacuum bags– You can take that full bag out of your vacuum and dump it right into the compost.
- Junk mail- Cut it up or shred it and you have a great way to get rid of all those annoying extras in your mailbox.
- Dryer lint– Keep a can next to the dryer and when it fills up dump that lint into your compost pile. *Note* Only compost lint if you do not use dryer sheets
- Grass clippings– In addition to brown dead leaves, grass clippings are perfect compost.
What NOT to Compost
While anything that is organic in nature makes great compost, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule.
- Meat – While some gardeners do put meat or pan drippings in their compost I advise against it, for a couple reasons. First, meat will more likely attract animals to your compost bin, for starters. Second, meat will also cause your compost to smell like death. If you can handle these problems and want to put meat in your compost, by all means go for it but keep it minimal.
- Seeds and pits – some common culprits are cucumbers, bell peppers, apples. I admit I have missed a couple seeds here and there and my compost has sprouted a few veggies of its own. It’s not the end of the world if a couple make it in, but you want your compost to be for the plants you’ve intentionally planted so avoid seeds and pits whenever possible.
Are you interested in learning more about composting? Do you think you will add any of these unusual items to your compost pile?
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