What to Put in a Compost Pile

Why go to a gardening store to buy top soil when you can make it with things you were going to throw in the trash? Making your own compost pile is simple, cheap, better for the environment, and better for your garden, plants, and yard.

What do I use to make compost?

Your compost pile needs to have a good mixture of the greens and the browns. The greens make up the nitrogen-rich materials for your compost. The greens are made up of such things as grass clippings and table scraps such as left over dinner, banana peels, etc. The browns are the carbon-rich materials such as wood chips, limbs, and dried leaves. Basically, anything truly organic can be used.

You will want to make sure that you are using the proper ratios to achieve the best and riches compost. These variables are different for each household as each family unit may have more greens to add to the compost than browns or vice versa. Just remember, too much carbon rich browns will cause the compost pile to decompose slower. Too much nitrogen-rich greens will cause an odor.

Table scraps, dinner leftovers, food garbage etc that can be used are the rinds from watermelon, cantaloupe, etc as well as the peelings from apples, carrots, and pears. Banana peels are fine and so are tea bags. Like I said, anything organic will probably be fine for your compost heap. I would shy away from meat products due to the fat and the likelihood of attracting animals and more bugs to your heap. When you add your kitchen refuse to the pile be sure to cover it with other materials such as already decomposing materials or broken down leaves to lessen the odors that attract animals and pests.

Dried leaves and grass clippings need to be broken down as much as possible if you want them to decompose faster. Pine needles, limbs, etc also need to be broken down. This can be achieved by mowing over what you can and then raking the mulched leaves and by putting the limbs and needles through a wood chipper. Shredded up newspapers can also be used.

Manure can also be used from herbivore type animals such as sheep, ducks, goats, and pigs. Avoid using manure from meat eating animals as their feces likely carries diseases.

As said before, most any organic material can be used to make compost. Just keep in mind that a compost pile, if not placed in a manufactured container, can be smelly and unsightly. Placing it far enough away from your house so that you don't have to smell it, but close enough so you don't forget about it, will be harder than figuring out what to put in it. Only you can make that judgment call.