This week I would like to share with you the most random, yet beneficial ingredients that you can add to your compost.

As well as some ingredients which you would believe to be beneficial for the compost, but can throw off the C:N ratio and attract pests.

We’ll begin with the nice list –

  • Eggshells – no cooked egg however, animal proteins take longer to break down, can create the growth of harmful bacteria and entice pests
  • Bread crumbs and other grainy materials
  • Dryer lint
  • Used tissues – provided you are not harboring a virus, the verdict is still out on whether the bacteria gets broken down enough to render them harmless to the consumer once the compost is used within your vegetable garden
  • Hair, fur, feathers and unpainted nails they are high in nitrogen
  • Cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper (leave them whole or cut them into smaller rings, they add air to the soil as well as little walkways for your macro-organisms such as worms, millipedes, beetles and rolly pollies)
  • Tattered cotton, silk and wool textiles
  • Pencil shavings
  • Toothpicks and wooden skewers
  •  Fireplace ashes – avoid charcoal ashes however, the sulfur dioxide can poison the organisms within your compost

naughty list –

  • Nuts – especially walnuts they are toxic to your compost, they attract pests and they will take warmer temperatures and a seasoned composter’s abilities to create a blend that effectively decomposes such materials
  • Dairy and Meat scraps – though some would say that these are natural products that can be composted… for the average composter, these are a no-no, they harbor bacteria and attract unwanted pests while emitting an overwhelming stench.
  • Chip crumbs and salty snacks – be mindful not to add greasy chips or materials packed with sodium, these items will take longer to decompose and are toxic to some micro- and macro-organisms

There are many sites that will suggest that some materials are safe and that others are not, while another site boasts the opposite.  I offer this list for you based on my personal experience as well as years of research on the subject.

You may be an avid composter and may keep bins for both edibles and for gardening, in which case, you might get more creative and go so far as to blend wine corks to add to your compost, or maintain your PH by adding human urine to the mix.

However, I like to keep it simple.

My goal is to reduce the amount of waste that we deliver to the landfills every week, not start a chemistry experiment in the backyard.

Next week I will go over the science behind the compost as well as share a photo of week 3’s compost pail.

Stay tuned!

References

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/

35 Unexpected Things To Add To Your Compost Pile

http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/crazy-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-compost-plus-some-you-cant-holiday-edition.html