Gardening Basics

Compost Cookery

Compost is more than leaves, grass clippings and spent foliage.

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With fallen leaves littering the yard and vegetable plants wasted in the garden, it's not hard to find things to feed your compost pile. But you may be only skimming the surface of what there is to compost. Marion Owen, master gardener and co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul, has put together a list of other items that are great for composting.

You'll love her list:

  • paper napkins
  • paper towels
  • pet hair
  • horse hair
  • animal fur
  • potash rock
  • sticky notes
  • freezer-burned fruit
  • freezer-burned vegetables
  • wood chips
  • lint from behind refrigerator
  • dust bunnies
  • hay
  • straw
  • popcorn
  • old spices
  • old herbs
  • pine needles
  • leaves
  • matches
  • seaweed and kelp
  • leather dust
  • grass clippings
  • molasses residue
  • potato peelings
  • cotton plant waste
  • weeds
  • hair clippings
  • electric razor trimmings
  • stale bread
  • coffee grounds
  • tea grounds
  • tea bags
  • wood ashes
  • sawdust
  • shredded newspaper
  • egg shells
  • alfalfa
  • winter rye
  • grapefruit rinds
  • pea vines
  • houseplant trimmings
  • old pasta
  • grape wastes
  • soil
  • phosphate rock
  • corncobs
  • jello
  • blood meal
  • bone meal
  • winery wastes
  • brewery wastes
  • Spanish moss
  • limestone
  • fish meal
  • beet wastes
  • Sunday comics
  • wheat straw
  • peat moss
  • facial tissues
  • milk
  • bark
  • hops
  • melted ice cream
  • flower petals
  • pumpkin seeds
  • cotton swabs
  • old flower arrangements
  • paper glue
  • citrus wastes
  • stale potato chips
  • rhubarb stems
  • produce trimmings from grocery store
  • nutshells
  • cattail reeds
  • clover
  • granite dust
  • greensand
  • shredded cardboard
  • dolomite
  • cover crops
  • rapeseed meal
  • apple cores
  • kitchen wastes
  • outdated yogurt
  • fingernail clippings
  • pie crust
  • leather wallets
  • onion skins
  • sugar cane residue
  • watermelon rinds
  • date pits
  • olive pits
  • peanut shells
  • burned oatmeal
  • dryer lint
  • bread crusts
  • cooked rice
  • banana peels
  • chocolate cookies
  • toothpicks
  • old moss from hanging baskets
  • stale potato chips
  • pickles
  • pencil shavings
  • wool socks
  • artichoke leaves
  • leather watch bands
  • fruit salad
  • tossed salad
  • brown paper bags
  • soggy cereal
  • lees from making wine
  • bad wine
  • old beer
  • burned toast
  • feathers
  • alfalfa
  • vacuum cleaner bag contents
  • coconut hull fiber
  • old or outdated seeds
  • macaroni and cheese
  • liquid of canned vegetables
  • liquid of canned fruit
  • wedding bouquets
  • greeting card envelopes
  • snow
  • dead bees and flies
  • peanut butter sandwiches
  • dirt from soles of shoes, boots
  • hand soap scraps
  • wheat bran
  • cardboard cereal boxes (shredded)
  • grocery receipts
  • theater tickets
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