Composting can be scary for a lot of reasons – the bugs, the cost, and the mystery of what to put in your composter. Yazmin debunked the most prominent myths about composting and I showed it is possible to build a compostor for cheap – just $3! So that leaves the mystery of what to put in your composter.
Here is what you can and cannot add to your composting pile.
What to add to your composter
The goal is to have a nice mix of green stuff (vegetables and other materials high in nitrogen) and brown stuff (leaves, grass that are high in carbon). If you add too much “green,” your compost will be very moist and may attract bugs. If you add too much “brown” your composting pile will be very dry and may take longer to decompose into rich, moist soil for your garden.
- Vegetable scraps
- Grass and hay – in limited quantities (it helps to mix the grass in with the food scraps)
- Eggshells that are ground up super fine (otherwise it takes so long for big egg shells to compost that you basically end up with giant chunks of egg shell in your soil
- Coffee grounds
- Yard trimmings (tree branches should be cut up quite small)
- Weeds that have not gone to seed (otherwise they will survive and infiltrate your garden!)
- Fruit waste, including rinds and peels
- Carbs – Bread, tortilla, chips, crackers, pasta, potatoes, etc
- Leaves, pine needles
- Bark, sawdust, ashes (except coal ash)
- Wood (unless it is treated)
- Newspaper and cardboard (as long as it’s in very small pieces)
What not to add to your composter
- Fats – oil, butter
- Meat, fish, or bones – even if it’s a small piece, meat will attract pests and vermin
- Coal ash
- Animal poop
- Treated wood
- Diseased plants and weeds that have gone to seed
- Inorganic materials like plastic, glass, tin foil
- Colored paper (but paper with vegetable dye is ok)
As long as you are gardening, might as well plant herbs and vegetables that will save you the most money!