Will It Compost?

Let's find out, shall we?

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So you’ve decided to start composting. No big deal, right? Wrong. While it doesn’t have to be a difficult task, there are definitely a few things to consider when it comes to your personal compost pile. For example, are you going to buy a bin or build your own? Are you well versed in how to keep pests away and worms welcome? How often are you supposed to turn the pile anyway? 



Kitchen fruit and vegetable waste ready for recycling. AdobeRGB colorspace.

Photo by: lucentius


All of these things and more will impact the utility of your compost and ultimately the health of your plants. But, of course, the most important thing to consider when investing in the well-being of your garden is what exactly are you (and aren’t you) supposed to add to your compost pile? For that, I’m here to help. 

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Will It Compost? 01:38

Did you get all that? Not too difficult, right? But for the finest, healthiest fertilizer around, you'll want to follow these tips. 

Let’s start with your green materials. These are the materials like fresh grass clippings and kitchen scraps that are rich in nitrogen and can speed up the breakdown process. Coffee grounds, tea leaves, fresh plant clippings and even horse or cow manure would fall into this category. 



Pouring food scraps into a compost pile.

Photo by: Janine Lamontagne

Janine Lamontagne

Now, let's move on to brown materials. Brown materials, such as newspaper and dead leaves, are rich in carbon. Got a stinky compost pile? You probably need to add more brown material. Eggshells, bread scraps, paper towels, cardboard, sawdust, hair and potting soil are all brown materials. For the ideal pile of compost, you should aim for a carbon to nitrogen ratio of about 30:1. From there, keep the pile moist, make sure it gets plenty of sun and don’t forget to turn it.

But before you run off to start your pile, let’s go over a few compost no-nos. While experts disagree on a few possible additions (dryer lint, yay or nay?), these common items should never be included for a thriving compost pile.

Compost Castoffs

  • colored or glossy paper
  • coal or charcoal
  • meat
  • bones
  • pet feces or litter
  • sand
  • grease, fat or oil
  • dairy products
  • weeds with seeds
  • pressure-treated lumber
  • plastic
  • stickers

Follow these tips, and soon (about six months to a year) you’ll have your very own nutrient-rich compost to brag about. And you’ll probably be as happy as the man you see below.



So rich, so lush.

Photo by: Ridofranz


So rich, so lush.

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