If you love to garden, then you might also spend big bucks on fertilizers and chemicals to bring forth a bountiful crop of fruits and vegetables. But you can save that cash and start making your own compost for your garden.
Composting offers several advantages over applying chemicals to the plants you grow:
- As mentioned, you will save money on those chemicals.
- You leave behind a smaller carbon footprint by using natural fertilizer methods instead of synthetics.
- Your food is healthier by avoiding commercial preparations.
But don’t take our word for it! Even the United States Environmental Protection Agency agrees that composting is an excellent gardening practice.
Today, we will look at seven kitchen scraps to compost instead of toss into the trash can.
Healthy composts include three basic types of debris:
- Browns: Sticks, twigs, pine straw, sawdust, grass clippings.
- Greens: Vegetables, fruit stems, etc.
- Water: The moisture content that helps break down the wastes.
These foods help contribute to a healthy mixture.
You make a pile of these materials, keep it moist. If you live in a rainy area, it will happen naturally. Those in arid zones will need to hose it down on occasion.
Every two weeks, use a pitchfork to turn the materials, so that you pull the oldest to the top. You will see it begin to break down. Once it crumbles into a fine texture, you can add it around your plants.
10 Kitchen Scraps That Make Excellent Compost
Your plants will flourish when you nourish them with these foods.
1 – Coffee grounds
Coffee grounds are part of the balance you need for a healthy mix. When you finish making coffee, toss the grounds into the compost pile. If you use unbleached coffee filters, you can also toss those into the pile. However, tear them up into smaller pieces for faster breakdown. Coffee contains nitrogen, an essential component of healthy soil.
2 – Egg shells
Egg shells add calcium, an essential mineral, back into the garden. As your plants grow, they will absorb that nutrient. Rinse out empty eggshells, let them dry. Then, crush them to speed up the decomposition process. If you skip the crushing, the eggshells can take extra time to decompose in the compost pile.
3 – Tea leaves
If you pass up coffee for tea, here’s some great news. Tea leaves also add to a healthy compost mix. The tannins in the leaves add value to the fertilizer and help retain the moisture you need to break down the materials. If you prefer teabags, you may also add those. However, many purists remove the staple, string, and tag, leaving only the bag and tea.
4 – Newspapers, brown paper bags
If you still read the daily newspaper (admittedly a dying practice), the black and white, non-glossy pages of the paper are excellent at helping your compost retain the humidity it needs. Discard the glossy sections and ad inserts. Then tear up or shred the rest of the newspaper (or brown paper bags) and add it to the compost pile. Alternatively, you can use newspaper in place of expensive weed control fabric around your plants with a little bit of creative placement.
5 – Pet hair
Brushing out your pet’s coat? The fur you pull out of the comb makes an excellent additive to the fertilizer. However, you might quickly lose this material to the local bird population. Your feathered friends will likely want to share it to line their nests, as it helps keep their eggs and hatchlings warm.
6 – Fireplace ashes
If you have a fireplace, the debris from your ash bin is super-rich in nitrogen, and it’s an awesome item to add to the pile. Make sure the ash cools completely so you do not set your pile ablaze. Also, note that charcoal ash from your grill is NOT appropriate for composting, as the lighter fluids contain chemical additives that you are trying to avoid.
7 – Veggie and fruit trimmings
All your vegetable and fruit trimmings serve as essential organics to add to your pile. It is simple to do. Just keep a “garbage bowl” to toss in the peelings as you clean them and remove them to the compost heap after you finish the food prep.
What Wastes NOT to Add to the Compost Pile
Never add these things, as they deter from good sanitation practices.
1 – Pet feces
It can be tempting to chuck dog or cat waste out of the lawn into the heap, but it smells terrible very quickly. Plus, you do not want to add these impurities to the foods you are growing. Remember…what you put into the soil, you get back out!
2 – Meats and cooking oils
Some people add meats, oils, and well, all food waste to the compost heap.
But this presents a few problems:
- Meat and oils take a really long time to break down.
- They put off a terrible odor as they decompose.
- You’ll almost certainly attract unwanted visitors to your yard, such as coyotes, bears, or other local predators.
Final Thoughts: Turn Your Household Waste Into Wonderful Garden Compost
You can cut back on the amount of waste you dispose of in the landfill and create healthier soils by composting some of your household waste.
While it takes some time to get used to these practices, you’ll be so glad you make these changes in the long run.