What is Considered Compost?
Compost, often referred to as “black gold” by gardeners and environmental enthusiasts, is a valuable organic material that enriches soil and promotes healthy plant growth. It consists of decomposed organic matter such as kitchen scraps, yard waste, and certain other materials. In this blog post, we will delve into what can be considered compostable and provide you with a comprehensive guide to help you create nutrient-rich compost for your gardening needs.
The Basics of Composting
Before exploring what can be composted, let’s understand the basic principles of composting. Composting is the natural process of decomposition where microorganisms break down organic matter into simpler compounds like humus. This process results in the creation of nutrient-rich material known as compost that enhances soil fertility and structure.
Kitchen Scraps: The Heart of Compost
Your kitchen holds a wealth of potential compost ingredients. Fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, coffee grounds (including filters), tea bags (remove staples if any), nutshells (excluding walnuts), bread crusts or stale bread – all these food items make excellent additions to your compost pile.
Avoid including meat products or dairy items in your kitchen scraps collection for two reasons: these materials may attract pests to your pile, causing unwanted nuisances; secondly they take longer to break down due to their high fat content.
Garden Waste: A Green Treasure
Your garden is another abundant source when it comes to collecting materials for creating good-quality compost. Fallen leaves from trees act as an excellent carbon-rich component while adding airiness to the mix. Grass clippings are also great contributors but should be used sparingly so they don’t clump together preventing airflow within the pile.
Other garden waste such as plant trimmings, flowers, weeds (without seeds), and small branches can be added to the compost bin. However, it is crucial to avoid diseased plants or weeds with matured seedheads as they may spread diseases or germinate respectively when used in the composting process.
Paper and Cardboard: An Eco-Friendly Addition
Paper waste like shredded newspaper, office paper scraps, cardboard boxes (broken down into smaller pieces), and paper towels without chemicals are all excellent sources of carbon for your compost heap. These materials provide structure to the mix while balancing out the nitrogen-rich components from kitchen scraps and grass clippings.
Avoid Composting These Materials
While many organic materials can be composted, some should never find their way into your compost pile. Avoid adding pet waste (including cat litter), treated wood products, plastics or synthetic materials, oily items like grease or fat residues from cooking pans, meat products including bones and leftovers containing oils or sauces that attract pests.
Compost is a valuable resource for any gardener looking to improve soil fertility naturally. By understanding what can be considered compostable – from kitchen scraps like fruit peels and coffee grounds to garden waste such as leaves and trimmings – you’ll have all the tools necessary to create nutrient-rich “black gold” in your own backyard. Remember to follow these guidelines on what not to include in your compost pile for optimal results. Happy gardening!