What Should I Compost? Tips and Benefits for Effective Composting


Composting is a wonderful way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. By diverting organic materials from the landfill, you not only contribute to a more sustainable environment but also reap the benefits of healthier plants and vegetables. In this blog post, we will explore what you should compost and provide essential tips to ensure successful composting.

The Basics of Composting

1. Understanding the Essentials

To start off on the right foot with composting, it’s crucial to understand what materials are suitable for your compost pile or bin. Organic matter such as kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, leaves, and small amounts of paper products can all be composted effectively.

2. Green vs. Brown Materials

A key aspect of successful composting lies in achieving a balanced carbon-to-nitrogen ratio within your pile or bin. Green materials like fruit peels, vegetable scraps, and fresh grass clippings provide nitrogen while brown materials like dry leaves, shredded newspaper, or straw offer carbon. Remember that maintaining this balance is vital for a healthy decomposition process.

3.What You Should Compost:

  • Kitchen Scraps: Fruit & vegetable peels/cores/trimmings;
  • Coffee grounds & filters;
  • Eggshells (crushed);
  • Nut shells (avoid walnut shells due to potential allelopathic properties);
  • Garden Trimmings: Grass clippings (in moderation), flowers/plants/prunings;
    1. Note:
  • Do not include weeds with mature seeds or invasive plant species.
  • Dry Leaves;
    1. Note:
  • Avoid using leaves from plants that have been treated with pesticides.
  • Shredded newspaper, paper towels (avoid glossy/colored ink);

What Not to Compost

1. Meat and Dairy Products

Avoid composting meat, bones, dairy products like milk or cheese scraps as they can attract pests and emit unpleasant odors. These materials are best left out of your compost pile to maintain a healthy environment for decomposition.

2. Greasy Foods & Oily Items

Fats, oils, greasy food scraps should also be avoided in composting as they tend to slow down the breakdown process and may cause a slimy texture within the pile. Opt for healthier alternatives by either reducing consumption of such items or disposing them properly in waste bins instead of your compost.

3. Diseased Plants & Weeds with Mature Seeds

In order to prevent spreading diseases and unwanted weed growth in your garden, refrain from including diseased plants and weeds with mature seeds into your compost pile. The high temperatures achieved during proper composting might not be enough to kill these potential threats completely.

Tips for Successful Composting

1. Proper Aeration & Moisture Control

Your compost heap requires oxygen for beneficial microbes’ activity; hence it’s essential to turn or mix the contents regularly to provide adequate aeration. Additionally, maintaining optimal moisture levels is crucial – aim for moist but not waterlogged conditions by occasionally adding water or dry matter accordingly.

Pro Tip:

Avoid adding too much water at once, as it can lead to excessive moisture and hinder the decomposition process.

2. Size Matters

The size of your compost materials plays a role in how quickly they decompose. Chop or shred larger items like branches or vegetable scraps into smaller pieces to expedite the breakdown process and achieve well-balanced compost more efficiently.

3. Layering Technique

An effective way to maintain a good balance between green and brown materials is by layering them within your compost pile. Start with a thick layer of brown materials, followed by thin layers of kitchen scraps, grass clippings, or other green matter. Repeat this pattern until you reach the desired height for your pile.

In Conclusion

Knowing what you should compost is essential for successful and efficient waste management while creating nutrient-rich soil amendment for your plants. By following these guidelines on suitable compostable materials and helpful tips for maintaining an ideal environment within your compost pile, you’ll be well on your way towards reducing waste and enjoying healthier gardens!