Compost: Part 2 – What goes into Compost

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Yes you can see onions and citrus in there!

What to put in your compost is a much debated question. I have a large three bay system which takes a long time to break down.  We don’t eat a lot of citrus so a couple of  lemons, mandarins or oranges a month wont hurt our compost heap. If you are a mad juicer and use a lot of citrus I would not put all the scraps in your compost. Onions are another casualty that cause a lot of discussion, if you have a large compost system then I am sure it will be able to handle them. We are only a family of two and don’t use much of either citrus or onions – though I do know they take a very long time to break down, so if you have a small compost maybe best avoid putting them in all together.

Compost is made up of a combination of brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen) organic material that was once living. Layering your compost heap with brown and green waste will help it to decompose. You should always cover you kitchen scraps with brown material – grass, leaves, shredded paper or cardboard. Doing this will discourage those fruit fly from hovering around.

If you cut up the pieces of green and brown waste to a smaller size it will also take less time to decompose.

Green Organic Waste: Vegetable scraps, kitchen scraps (left-overs, bread, cereal, grains), green, lawn trimming, tea bags, coffee grinds, chicken manure,

Brown Organic Waste: small twigs and branches, dried leaves, dried grass, dried weeds, cardboard, paper, newspaper, toilet rolls, vacuum cleaner waste, dust from the floor, dried flowers, hay, lint from the washing machine

Neutralizers: Eggshells, dolomite, lime

Activators: Comfrey, arrowroot, yarrow and manure

Most people don’t put meat in their compost due to the smell and it may also attract wild dogs and other pests. I recently lost a young guinea fowl, call me mean, but he went into the compost heap – what was once living can go in. Mind you I would not put a full-grown chicken or guinea fowl in the compost. I surrounded the guinea with manure, mushroom compost and then covered it with plenty of brown waste and in my case lots of elephant grass. I am sure this is a topic that people will debate – I have a very large compost heap and it’s not a graveyard for all my dead animals. Only one in six months as I don’t wont to encourage bad bacteria in my compost and it is a trial to see if he does really decompose.

So no meat goes into my compost from our kitchen.

Spoiled milk also goes into our compost, I have heard good things about sour milk being an activator for the compost heap. After experimenting with fermenting, I have also used my kiffir grains, water to aid in the decay of the other green material.

I would not put any chemicals, sprayed vegetation, infected foliage into the heap. Your pile of organic waste should be kept happy. By putting in man-made products this will only slow down the process or completely kill your compost.

What don’t you put into your compost? Do you think milk and meat products should stay out of the compost?

COMPOST SERIES:

COMPOSTING PART 1: What is compost

COMPOSTING PART 2: What goes into a compost

COMPOSTING PART 3: Hot, Cold the best system for your backyard

COMPOSTING PART 4: Using compost in the garden & problem solving

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3 Comments

  1. We put half our kitchen scraps, the rest goes towards the chickens. Occasionally I’ll put onions in there too.

  2. Thanks Lizzie! Looking forward to the rest of the posts!

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