What to Compost and What Not to Compost for a Successful Garden

What to Compost and What Not to Compost: Complete Guide

Incorporate Sustainability with Effective Composting Methods

Composting is a fantastic way to reduce waste, enrich soil quality, and contribute towards a greener planet. By converting kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich compost, you can create an eco-friendly cycle that benefits both your garden and the environment. However, it’s important to understand what materials are suitable for composting and what should be avoided. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various items that can be composted as well as those that are better off excluded from the process.

Composting Essentials: Understanding the Basics

Before diving into the specifics of compostable materials, let’s quickly review some foundational concepts associated with successful composting:

The Green vs. Brown Ratio

To achieve a well-balanced compost pile, it’s crucial to maintain an appropriate ratio between “green” (nitrogen-rich) and “brown” (carbon-rich) materials. Aim for a 1:4 or 1:5 ratio of green material (such as fruit peels or grass clippings) to brown material (like dry leaves or newspaper).

Moisture Levels

Proper moisture levels are vital for decomposition processes within your compost pile. Ideally, aim for dampness similar to that of a wrung-out sponge; overly wet conditions lead to odor issues while excessive dryness hinders decomposition.

Items Perfectly Suited for Composting:

Now that we have covered some essential aspects of successful composting let’s dive into specific items you can confidently include in your compost bin:

Fruit & Vegetable Scraps

– Potato skins
– Banana peels
– Apple cores

These produce remnants provide rich sources of nitrogen, helping speed up the decomposition process.

Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags

Rich in nitrogen, coffee grounds and tea bags are excellent additions to compost piles. Just remember to remove any staples or non-compostable tags from tea bags.


Eggshells add calcium to your compost while managing acidity levels. Be sure to crush them before adding for enhanced decomposition.

Yard Waste: An Ideal Composting Resource

In addition to kitchen scraps, yard waste can significantly contribute to healthy compost production:


– Dry leaves make an excellent source of brown material.
– Shred them for faster decomposition.

Grass Clippings

When used in moderation, grass clippings provide a great source of green material; however, avoid using large quantities at once as they tend to mat together and create unwanted odors.

Avoid These Items: Keep Them Out of Your Compost Pile!

While it’s important to know what you can include in your compost pile, there are certain materials that should be kept out:

Dairy Products & Meats

Dairy products (like milk or cheese) and meat scraps generate strong odors and attract pests. They also decompose slowly compared to other organic matter.

< h 4 > Pet Feces / Litter

Though waste from herbivorous pets like rabbits or hamsters is safe for composting if properly managed, avoid adding feces from carnivorous animals or cat litter containing chemicals as they may contain harmful pathogens.

< h 4 > Diseased Plants

Plants affected by diseases or pests should not be included in the compost pile as this could spread infections across your garden when the compost is used.

< h 4 > Weeds with Mature Seeds

Avoid adding weeds that have mature seeds to prevent weed growth when using the finished compost.

Creating a Balanced and Efficient Compost Pile

By carefully selecting what to compost and what not to, you can ensure your pile remains healthy, odor-free, and productive. Remember these key points:

– Maintain a proper green-to-brown ratio for best results.
– Monitor moisture levels regularly to avoid excessive dryness or wetness.
– Be selective about the materials you include; focusing on organic matter free from harmful chemicals or pathogens.

Start incorporating sustainable practices into your daily routine by making use of kitchen scraps and yard waste. By following this guide, you’ll be well-equipped with knowledge on what makes an ideal addition to your compost pile for optimal results. Let’s do our part in preserving our planet’s health while reaping the benefits of nutrient-rich compost!