Do You Compost? Here's What To Know About Composting.
- Water – breaks down the organic matter.
- Brown materials (branches, leaves, twigs)—provides carbon for the compost.
- Green materials (coffee grounds, fruit waste, grass, vegetable waste)—provides nitrogen for the compost.
- Aim for an equal amount of browns and greens in your compost pile.
- Alternate your layers of material with different-sized items.
Why You Should Compost
We went over the basics of composting, but why should you do it? Here are three reasons:
- Reduces the amount of material in landfills, where they take up valuable space on our planet and release methane.
- Benefits the soil and plants in your garden by acting as a fertilizer, retaining moisture, and protecting against pests and disease.
- Replaces chemical fertilizers.
What You CAN Compost
If you’re just getting started with composting, here is a quick list of items to use:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nut shells
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Tea bags
- Shredded newspaper, paper, and cardboard
- Yard trimmings
- Grass clippings
- Hay and straw
- Wood chips
- Hair and fur
- Fireplace ashes
What You CANNOT Compost
The following items should not be added to your compost pile because they could be harmful to your plants or humans:
- Black walnut tree leaves or twigs. These leaves and twigs release substances that might be harmful to plants.
- Coal or charcoal ash. The ash may contain substances that can be harmful to plants.
- Dairy products (milk, butter, yogurt, sour cream, etc.), eggs, fats, grease, lard, oils, and meat or fish bones and scraps. These items will smell and attract pests.
- Diseased or insect-ridden plants. Diseases and insects might survive and infect other plants.
- Pet waste (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter). Pet waste may contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses that are harmful to humans.
- Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides. These trimmings may kill beneficial composting organisms.