What Can You Use as Compost?

Composting is used by many households to enrich their lawn and as a way to recycle organic material. It is extremely beneficial to utilize this method to make your soil more fertile. You might be overwhelmed when getting started, but starting this practice pile is easy and can grow as composting becomes second nature to you.

What is it and why should I do it?

  • Guides how organic manner decomposes
  • It feeds the soil and allows nutrients to slowly release to the crops in your garden
  • Improves workability of the soil and enables it to be more effective at locking in moisture for your plant’s needs
  • Microscopic organisms air out the soil, help to keep plants disease-free and break down the organic material to allow the plants to use it
  • Beneficial alternative to chemicals that aren’t necessarily good for the environment and cost money
  • Reduces the amount of waste found in landfills. It is estimated that up to 33 percent of waste in landfills consists of compostable materials.

Things Safe to Put into the Pile

  • Organic material from food such as potato skins, banana peels, lettuce and coffee grounds
  • Plain white paper or black and white newspaper. Color has dye and potentially wax
  • Animal waste from vegetarian animals such as cows, horses, rabbits or hamsters
  • Sawdust or wood shavings
  • Grass clippings and yard waste such as sticks

Things to Keep out of and away from your pile

  • Manure from meat eaters such as humans, dogs, and pigs can carry pathogens and diseases that have the potential to spread disease if not heated to very high temperatures
  • Meat, fat and dairy. Meat, fat and bones and other animal products can all potentially carry diseases and are very attractive to night time scavengers such as raccoons, opossums or rats.
  • Diseased weeds. They will spread to the other matter in the pile and can cause damage to the soil you’re trying to replenish the nutrients in.

Setting up the Pile

  • Select a spot of bare earth to put your bin, box or homemade container
  • Place a few twigs or sticks on the ground to create air pockets in the pile and help with drainage
  • Always alternate the layers of what you put in your pile between dry and moist to prevent the pile from getting too soggy. A bit of moisture is necessary to break down the materials.
  • Cover the pile with a lid if you’re using a box or bin. You can also opt to use wood or plastic sheets to ward off animals and prevent the matter from getting overly soggy.
  • Use a shovel or pitch fork to rotate and turn the compost every week or two to keep the airflow through it

Starting your journey doesn’t have to be an extremely difficult task if you take small steps and start slow. You’ll reduce the amount of waste in landfills, enrich your soil for the garden and keep recycling the organic matter back to where it should be.