Composting can save a lot of money, a lot of landfill space, and a lot of time if you know how to do it. This is especially true if you are an avid gardener or enjoy a collection of houseplants, as composting can easily provide you with nearly all of the fertilizer and soil mulch you will ever need. Most people know that you can compost things like vegetable cuttings, orange peels, and eggshells, but there are many things that certainly can be composted that most people just would never think of. There are also things that are often though of as a no-no when it comes to composting, that truly can be composted if you prepare the item properly. Here is a list to start your composting adventure:
1. From your kitchen
You can compost just about anything from the kitchen, except meat and grease products. Any and all vegetables, fruits, grains, breads, pasta, eggs, milk, nuts, potato chips, breakfast cereals, crackers, and canned goods that do not contain meat are all candidates for the compost pile. Cheese can be included if you cut it into small pieces first. Nut shells can also be included, minus walnut shells as these are harmful to some kinds of plants. Coffee grounds, tea bags and cut or dried herbs make excellent additions to the compost pile.
2. From your home and office
Compost your shredded documents, paper bags, used envelopes (no plastic windows), egg cartons, muffin cups, corks, cardboard boxes, toothpicks, cotton balls, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, Kleenex, Q-tips, and paper plates (no plastic, only paper!). Shredded into small pieces, these items will all break down in a well-working compost pile.
3. Miscellaneous items
Most people don’t think of adding include fireplace ashes, combings of pet hair, used matches, dead flower arrangements, dryer lint, dead houseplants and houseplant trimmings, tissue paper from gifts, vacuum cleaner bag contents, and paper tablecloths.
Remember that a compost pile will work best when it is regularly turned, allowing moisture and heat to mix throughout the pile. If your compost pile is cool and dry, it may need a little water added to get things going, but don’t get it too wet. A soggy pile won’t break down very well, either. Keep an eye on yours and watch all of these things you thought you couldn’t compost turn into mulch and fertilizer for your yard and gardens!