The Ultimate List of Things You can Compost

Last Updated on October 29, 2022 by Cinthia

You must apply fertilizer to your garden occasionally. You will also need fertilizer to use on your lawn, farm, and aquaponic system. Many farmers are aware that not all fertilizers are safe for use on their plants, but some of us do know that starting a compost makes our life much easier. Let us tell you about the things you can compost in the following paragraphs.

When shopping to add nutrients to your soil, you need to be on the lookout for organic sources that contain the right nutrients to support the healthy growth and development of your plant. One such healthy nutrient source for the plant is compost. In this article, we will be talking about how to use compost, things you can compost, and compostable items. But before we get started, let us first take a quick look at some of the benefits of composting just in case you are contemplating whether to compost or not. 

5 Weird Composting Hacks for Suburb...
5 Weird Composting Hacks for Suburban Homeowners
Benefits of Composting 

  • One of the foremost benefits of composting is that it helps to support the production of beneficial microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria which aids in the breakdown of organic matter leading to the formation of humus. This is a material filled with nutrients that can lead to the growth of healthy plants in your garden. 
  • Using compost in your garden will reduce your dependency on chemical fertilizers. This also saves you the problems associated with the use of chemical fertilizers such as exposure to toxins and environmental pollution. 
  • Compost helps to reduce carbon and methane emissions from your soil. 
  • It also helps to provide your soil with nutrients that support growth. This makes it a good solution to the problem of soil nutrient deficiency. 
  • Composting also helps to reduce the buildup of waste in landfills. This is because many of the materials that are often disposed of can be kept for use as an organic manure for plants. 
  • Composting is a cheap source of providing nutrients for your plants. You get to save money on manure and fertilizer once you decide to compost. 
  • Composting also helps to encourage soil water retention. This reduces the effect of erosion and also stops the depletion of the nutrients present in the soil. 

The Basics of Composting 

The basic thing you need to know about composting is that there are three ingredients required for the process to take place and they are:

Water 

Water helps to provide the moisture needed for decomposition to take place. Water helps in the breakdown of the organic waste that leads to the formation of humus. 

Green materials 

Green materials are the organic waste products that form the compost. They can include vegetable waste, fruit, coffee grounds, and other organic materials. Greens also provide a natural nitrogen source that is needed for composting to take place. 

Brown materials 

Brown materials are also ingredients that make up compost. They include twigs, dead leaves, and branches. They are the main source of carbon for the entire pile. 

Having identified the three important ingredients for compost, you need to also know that you will need to add equal amounts of green and brown materials when piling up your compost. You will need to pile the materials up in alternate layers of brown and green. You can either build your compost indoors or use an outdoor space at the back of your home or side of your farm. 

Items You Can and Can’t Compost With 

We have compiled a list of all the available things you can use when piling up your compost. Some of the materials mentioned here will not be acceptable to some of us due to the fear that these ingredients may support the emergence of pests in your garden or home. Considering that this is an extensive list, we are certain that you will be able to find the right material to compost with. 

Green materials suitable for composting 

Greens are the best source of nitrogen to compost and they are needed in large quantities when building your compost pile. Here are some of the best sources of nitrogen for compost :

  • Cooked plain rice
  • Cooked plain pasta
  • Seaweed
  • Cornhusk
  • Stale bread
  • Corn cobs
  • Dead plants (ensure they are not diseased)
  • Dead flower heads
  • Fresh leaves 
  • Fruit peels
  • Vegetable peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Trims from houseplants
  • Grass clippings
  • Melon rinds
  • Citrus rinds
  • Tea bags/leaves
  • Broccoli stalks
  • Eggshells 
  • Old herbs and spices 
How to Compost and Compostable Items

Brown materials suitable for composting 

Browns provide your compost with the carbon needed to support aeration within the compost. They also help to improve the structure of your compost once decomposition begins. Some of the best browns you can add to your compost pile include:

  • Straw 
  • Shredded office papers 
  • Shredded newspapers
  • Pinecones 
  • Raffia
  • Bird nests 
  • Used napkins 
  • Excelsior 
  • Toilet paper 
  • Fall leaves 
  • Beddings from rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs
  • Sawdust (use only dust obtained from wood that hasn’t been treated)
  • Brown paper bags
  • Wood chips 
How to Compost and Compostable Items

Some people often add fat, dairy and meat to their compost but we left those out in our list of ingredients because you will need to be extremely cautious when using such items. You can speed up the rate of compost by ensuring that you add equal amounts of brown and green to the mix. But if you notice that your compost is not decomposing as fast as it should, you will need to add more green materials to jack things up. 

Things you can’t compost with 

Some people often make the mistake of including the materials mentioned below as part of their compost items.

  • Walnuts
  • Glass
  • Greasy foods boxes such as empty pizza box
  • Plastic 
  • Wrapping paper made from metal
  • Dead plants that contain diseases
  • Cooking oil 
  • Toothpaste 
  • Haircare products 

While they might cut across like a domestic waste product, these materials have no benefit to your compost as they cannot decompose even when they are left in the pile for an extended period. You want to make use of materials that are easily broken down once decomposition begins.  

Indoor Composting 

You will need to make use of a bin when preparing your compost indoors. This bin you can easily purchase from your local gardening supply store or hardware store. When using a compost bin indoors, you will need to be extra careful to ensure that you don’t encourage the outbreak of rodents or pests inside your home. You will need to tend to your pile regularly and your compost should be ready in less than six weeks. 

Kitchen Compost Bin

Composting Outside Your Home 

The best place for you to compost outside your home is at the back of the house or the side of your farm. There are several ways you can prepare your compost pile, but you need to make sure that whichever method you use, the three main ingredients need to be in place namely greens, browns, and water. You will also require some gardening tools to make things easier and they include machetes, shovels, pitchforks, and water hoses.

When preparing your compost at the back of your house, you will need to:

  1. Keep the pile in a dry place that is close to a source of water
  2. Shred all large brown or green materials into smaller pieces before they are added you the pile. 
  3. Moisten dry materials before adding them to your compost. 
  4. After piling up the compost materials, you will need to add vegetable waste and fruits at the bottom of the pile to speed up the decomposition rate. 
  5. Cover the compost to encourage the buildup of heat inside it. 
  6. Keep the entire compost moist by watering it occasionally using a spray hose or allowing it to get wet under the rain. 

Your compost should be ready for use after 2 months but this can take more than a year depending on the compost material used. You can find all this material in your kitchen or around the house. You should make use of waste obtained from your home. You can also make use of waste products obtained from your neighbor’s bin or go looking for compostable materials around your neighborhood. 

When keeping a compost pile close to the house, you need to take extra care to ensure that it does not encourage the emergence of insects and pests in your garden or home. A good way to handle this will be to purchase an organic pesticide or insecticide that can neutralize insects and pests while also keeping you safe from toxins that can endanger your health or plant health. 

Final Words

With the materials mentioned above, you should be able to determine which items to use when next you are planning your compost pile. Have you tried making your compost before and how did you go about it? We will like to hear from you in the comment section. 

FAQ’s

What kind of things can you put in a compost?

Composting is a great way to manage your household’s food scraps and other organic waste. It’s also an effective way to help the environment, because it breaks down all that food and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil. Here are some guidelines for what to compost and how to do it right.

The best compost is made up of a balanced combination of kitchen and yard wastes. These include fruits and vegetables, leaves, straw, grass clippings, paper products, and other organic materials.

Generally speaking it should be a mixture of any kind of food waste, yard clippings, and kitchen scraps. These include things like eggshells, apple cores, banana peels, broccoli stalks, carrot tops, cabbage leaves, citrus rinds, etc.

What should the compost look like?

The first thing that you should ask yourself is what type of compost do you want to make. There are a number of different things that can go into compost. The more diverse the ingredients, the better the end product.

The compost should be dark and rich in nutrients. If you don’t have access to a lot of yard waste, try to source food scraps from a local farm or food co-op.

Is there a limit?

There's not really any limit on what you can use in a compost pile, but there are some things that you should avoid. Some of these are pretty obvious, while others are more subtle.

What should I avoid throwing in the comport?

Avoiding Ingredients That Are Too High in Nitrogen

One of the biggest problems with using compost is that it tends to attract lots of hungry insects. This is particularly true if you're using manure or other organic materials. While the composting process will reduce the nitrogen content, the nitrogen left in the compost will still be available to the bugs. Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for plants.

Plants need a certain amount of nitrogen in order to grow. In compost, the nitrogen can be found in either protein or nitrates. If you have access to some nitrogen-rich material like manure or blood meal, you may want to consider adding it to your compost. However, be careful because adding too much nitrogen can make your compost smell bad and attract pests. In fact, the EPA has a list of materials that are high in nitrogen. Many of these materials are listed as "hazardous waste" and should not be added to a compost pile.

What’s the problem with manure in compost?

The main problem with using composted manure is that it is often very hot. When the compost is ready for use, it should be at least 60°F. If it is too hot, you may end up with a compost pile that smells bad and attracts pests. If you want to use composted manure, you will need to add some carbon to help cool it down. Carbon helps keep the nitrogen from reacting with the oxygen and creating an unpleasant odor. You can add either dry leaves, grass clippings, or sawdust to your compost pile. These materials also help keep the compost cooler. You should also add a small amount of gypsum to your compost pile.

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