Compost is, basically, decayed or decaying organic material that is used to feed and fertilise plant matter in the garden. Using the natural waste that comes out of your home (particularly the kitchen) will ensure that your compost is healthy and rich in the healthful microorganisms that are so essential in your garden. Of course, compostable items must be biodegradable and must contain healthful nutrients to qualify. The most common and beneficial compostable items are:
- Vegetable and fruit peels, cores and pips – instead of tossing the inedible parts of your fruit and vegetables, throw them into the compost.
- Ashes – when cleaning out your barbecue or fireplace, be sure to add the wood ashes (never coal ashes) to your compost pile. This provides valuable Potassium Carbonate.
- Grass, hay or straw – after mowing the lawn, add the clippings to your compost to add bulk and useful natural materials. Try to dry the grass out first so that it does not mould or become soggy. Do not use grass, hay or straw that has been sprayed with chemicals. Hay or straw should have begun rotting before being added to your compost.
- Shells – grind the shells of mussels, oysters, crayfish, eggs etc…for your compost heap. These are rich in nutrients that will feed and nourish your garden.
- Tree and hedge trimmings – shred the larger branches before adding them to your compost for some great, healthy mulch.
- Leaves – leaves tend to fall off of trees and bushes by themselves, making them ideal for the compost. They usually take a while to rot, so to speed up the rotting process, mix them with some natural manure first.
- Weeds – because these are organic, healthy plants, they are perfect for the compost pile. Try to remove them from the garden and add them to the compost before they go to seed so that they do not simply sprout and flourish in their new environment.
- Seaweed – this is full of amazing nutrients, and decomposes very quickly. Seaweed will give your compost plenty of Potassium, Iodine, Calcium and Magnesium.
There are also some household materials or wastes that make great compost, quite unexpectedly:
- Newspapers – a small amount of newspaper will provide carbon and rots fairly easily. Shred the newspaper before adding it to your compost.
- Lint from the tumble dryer
- Animal and human hair
- Nail clippings (great for providing protein)
- Urine – if you are able to save the urine of those in your household (including pets), it provides a good source of urea and protein to the fertiliser.
- Used tissues – tissues and toilet paper are biodegradable. In addition, the natural mucous or other waste on the tissues will be handy for the feeding and fertilisation of plants.
- Cardboard tampon applicators – ensure that you definitely use cardboard applicators and not plastic ones. The same goes for the toilet roll inners, and even the boxes in which the tampons were packaged.
- Used latex condoms – latex condoms (as with all other latex products) are very damaging to the landfills. So, rather bury them deep in your compost so that they can break down and feed your lush garden instead.
- Used loofahs – these are generally made from natural materials and are full of the remnants of skin from your body. They are, therefore, fantastic additions to your compost.
Photo Credit: Electric Tree House