Make Some Real Compost

We have now been making compost for years, especially since we began a more self sufficient lifestlye. No fancy setup although I would still have a compost tumbler if we did not have such a large plot that we can use, with pretty much unlimited space.

Many people come to this site looking for various snippets of wisdom about how to make compost, what to compost, can you put this, and can you put that on the compost heap.

Here I would like to dispel a few myths about what exactly composts and how many people may be missing out quite dramatically on the fertility of their soil by not using the following.

Before I run through the list, I know what will happen. People will be all

“You can’t put that on the compost, it will give you this disease, and that disease etc etc.”

If you are worried about distributing your compost because it may contain anything that will harm you then the fact is that the contents are not composted thoroughly enough to be safe. And if you are worried then either wear gloves or maybe even wash your hands afterwards. Night soil has been used for millenia and I welcome all comments on the subject. Be nice to have a debate and see who agrees and who disagrees with the following.

Here is what we have composted, what we do compost and what we will always compost. And we ‘aint dead yet don’t ‘ya know. But we have some decent veggies.

  • Grass
  • Leaves
  • Weeds
  • Sawdust
  • Dog poo
  • Contents of our compost toilet (human poo and urine)
  • Pee direct on to the compost heap (well, me anyway)
  • Raw bones
  • Raw meat
  • Cooked meat
  • Egg shells
  • All kitchen scraps
  • A dead chicken
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Old rags
  • Dead birds
  • Wood ash
  • Water from the washing up bowl
  • Old cooking oil
  • Hair
  • Pine needles
  • Old fruit
  • Sludge from the bottom of water butts
  • Old potting compost

And I am sure a million things more as well.

Who has anything to add, I am sure I have forgotten loads.

Get a bit of all that on your compost heap, wait a good few months and you will have some seriously improved soil.

8 Responses to “Make Some Real Compost”

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  1. Jef says:

    Wow, that’s quite the list. I’m still trying to figure out what the heck “Sludge from the bottom of water butts” is. 🙂

  2. You forgot dead mice and frogs occasionally found in water butts!

    Oh and all the poultry manure and bedding cleaned out from hencoop (well me anyway) 😉

  3. Hello there

    I don’t compost things such as dead birds, meat etc as the foxes/rats come and dig them up. I don’t want to attract vermin so how you get round this problem?

    • Rosie, I guess our Dogs mean that we get minimal other animals. The other option is simply to get some form of lid so foxes cannot get to the compost heap.

  4. brandon says:


    You and I agree on most things and I love your point of view. I am a medical laboratory scientist so I have a unique perspective of night soil and the like. I would like to say the main problem is people not allowing it to degrade properly. Also as long as your family is disease free from this or that it is fine. I would caution that if a child or that gets sick with diarrhea( or the like) to not use than cause no matter what most of those bugs thrive in that environment. Most pathogens are found in small amounts in the soil so you are concentrating them in the gut when you have diarrhea or other gastro-intestinal problem… With all that said with a healthy family it is usually ok to use “night soil” just make sure to wait and let the worms and stuff digest it really really well.