Boost Your Compost: Discover What to Add for Nourishing Organic Soil

What to Add to Compost: A Beginner’s Guide

Gardening enthusiasts and eco-conscious individuals often turn to composting as an effective way to reduce waste while enriching the soil with organic matter. Composting is a natural process that converts kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, and other biodegradable materials into nutrient-rich humus. However, there are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to what you can add to your compost pile. In this blog post, we will guide you through the essentials of successful composting by outlining what items are suitable for compost and which ones should be avoided.

The Basics of Composting

Before delving into specific items for your compost pile, let’s cover some basic principles of composting:

  • Brown Materials: These include carbon-rich ingredients such as leaves, straw, twigs, shredded paper or cardboard. They provide structure and help aerate the pile.
  • Green Materials: These consist of nitrogen-rich components like kitchen scraps (fruit peels, vegetable leftovers), grass clippings, coffee grounds or tea bags. They contribute necessary nutrients.
  • Air & Moisture: Proper airflow and moisture levels are vital for decomposition. Ensure your pile is adequately moist (similar to a damp sponge) but not waterlogged.
  • Mix & Turn: Regularly turning your compost helps accelerate the breakdown process by promoting oxygen flow throughout the heap.

Suitable Items for Compost

In general terms,“If it grows in nature – it goes in the bin!”. Both brown and green materials can be used in composting, but it’s important to maintain a balance between the two. Here are some examples of items that can be added to your compost pile:

Brown Materials:

  • Leaves (dry and shredded)
  • Straw or hay
  • Dried grass clippings
  • Pine needles
  • Wood chips or sawdust (in moderation)
  • Newspaper or cardboard (shredded)

Green Materials:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
    • Note: Avoid adding meat, dairy products, oils, or fatty foods as they can attract pests.
  • Coffee grounds and filters Tea leaves and tea bags Eggshells (crushed) Fresh grass clippings (in moderation) Garden plant trimmings In addition to these materials, you can also include organic matter such as hair clippings from pets or humans if desired.

    Avoid These Items in Compost

    Unfortunately,“Not everything is meant for the compost bin.”. To keep your compost healthy and avoid potential issues like odors or attracting unwanted pests, here are some items best kept out:

    Inorganic Matter:

      i
      iMetals/bottles/cans/lii
      iiPlastic/nylon/rubber/lii

      -Meat/dairy/fish products li .

      -Oily or fatty foods i .
      -Diseased plants/weeds with seeds li .

    • -Invasive weeds (better to discard them properly)

    Sawdust from Treated Wood:

    While sawdust itself may be compostable, it’s essential to avoid using any sawdust that comes from treated wood. Treated wood contains chemicals that can harm beneficial organisms in your compost pile and potentially contaminate the resulting soil.

    Conclusion

    Composting is an eco-friendly way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. By understanding what items are suitable for composting and which ones should be avoided, you can ensure a successful process with minimal issues. Remember to maintain a balance between brown and green materials, turn your pile regularly, and provide adequate moisture. With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be well on your way to producing high-quality compost that will benefit both your plants and the environment.