What Can You Compost?
Compost ANYTHING which was once alive. That’s what nature does so why don’t you?
This list shows you many of the things you could be composting, whether you feel you should depends on your lifestyle. Try to at least add one more thing from the list to your heap and you’ll be throwing away less and getting more for yourself from your own waste. Add all of the things on the list and I promise you’ll have very fast acting, super rich compost and a happy healthy garden. I know as that’s what we’re lucky enough to have!
Garden Waste. All the results of your mowing, clipping, pruning, weeding and tidying can be added to the compost pile. Really adventurous weeds can be soaked in a bucket of water for a few weeks first. This will turn them to mush making them unable to re-sprout whatever your compost heat.
- Dog Poop. While you’re tidying the garden you may be lucky enough to do some dog mess clearing! Throw it on the compost heap. Composting dog poo is what nature would do so why are you putting it in plastic bags to send to the dump? Introducing any manure into your compost pile will introduce microbes and bacteria that live to compost, speeding up the action of the heap. There are plenty of nasties in poop so be sure to bury it in the heart of the compost heap so it gets hot, and wash your hands afterwards!
- Kitchen Scraps. Anything once alive remember. So that means you can compost all your kitchen scraps, veggies, meat, fish, raw or cooked. Yes some of this stuff will be enticing to wildlife and pets, that’s why you bury this tasty, smelly stuff in the heap – don’t just pile it on top.
- Paper & Cardboard. All uncoated papers and cards can go straight on the compost pile. Just remember to remove plastic windows and anything laminated or you’ll end up with compost full of plastic strips that won’t break down. Tear it up or better still shred it to speed up compost action and remove any worries of identity theft.
- Pet & Livestock Bedding. Anything natural your animals sleep on will have the added benefit of additional manure particles. Just be careful with cat litter as that isn’t usually natural – check the label.
- Manure. If you’ve got your own livestock or a friendly farmer who can let you have some farmyard muck it can do nothing but good. Add it throughout the compost heap and it will speed things up, warm up the heap, add bulk and give you more nutritious compost too.
- Urine. This is actually more nutritious than manure for the garden. So whenever the gentleman of the house needs a tinkle let him sprinkle it on the compost heap.
- Humanure or human manure. It’s just the same old poop that all the other animals do! No reason not to add it to your compost pile! Into the bargain it will save lots of water too. A dry compost loo with a removable bucket is ideal for adding a twice weekly bonus of nitrogen rich goodness to the compost heap.
- Wood-ash and Sawdust. Wood-ash from a log burning stove will give the garden valuable potash. Sawdust can help provide bulk and substance but make sure it is mixed in as huge areas of sawdust may slow down the composting processes as wood is slow to break down.
- Natural Fibres. So old woollen sweaters or cotton t-shirts can be added to the compost pile. Make sure there are no tiny amounts of man-made fibre though or you could end up with odd patches of elastic or buttons etc in the compost.
- Anything Once Alive. Anything that was once living will be broken down over time into useful compounds for your garden.
So this is what we could compost. We’ve built up to composting all this over the last four years. Our veg plots have never been happier and though I was worried about some of the additions the compost heap causes us no problems at all.
For information on how to go about composting without attracting every rat and dog in the neighbourhood see our related post how to compost.
For a more self sufficient future