Home Sweet Home Magazine - October 2021

Green Materials

and the growth potential for seeds, any gardener will tell you it’s not impossible to have a surprise pumpkin plant appear out of next year’s compost. Organic Material Lastly, take advantage of your food waste. The compost pile loves egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit rinds, veggie stalks, banana peels, onion skins, nut shells, grains, tea and basically any non-animal, natural product. Some items do take longer to break down, so consider cutting banana and onion peels, slicing citrus rinds and crushing egg shells. If you decide not to take this extra step, however, those larger chunks can still move into the garden with your mostly- processed compost.

also add fire ashes as long as the wood you burned was chemical free. In other words, avoid the ashes from garbage burns, but toss in the ones from your wood fireplace. Loofahs and natural sponges are another little-known ingredient. When you’re cleaning the house, feel free to dump the swept-up dirt, dust and even pet hair into the pile. You can actually put your full vacuum bag in, as long as the contents are mostly dust and dirt, rather than bits of plastic and metal. Ingredients to Avoid As you get into the habit of composting, you’ll begin to question everything you throw into the trash. Is it good for the compost? Just remember to keep out the trash and non-organic (not plant-based) ingredients. That means no oils or grease, animal products (except egg shells), dairy, plastic, foil, or treated wood. Remember, everything that breaks down in your compost will act as food for another plant, so unless it came directly from the earth, it shouldn’t go back into it. One caveat about a material that seems to follow the rules is black walnut. While most organic plants are welcome in the compost pile, black walnut trees, leaves, and twigs release substances that might be harmful to other plants.

Grass clippings offer essential nutrients to the mix, but make sure your layers are thin and consistent for the best compost recipe. Other green materials come from other types of grasses, such as straw and bedding from herbivore animals like guinea pigs, along with their waste. Do not include animal manure from dogs and cats. Plants from your garden also balance out the green content, so toss in the tomato and pepper plants at the end of the season. Corn husks and stalks, spent flowers, herbs and other living plants are other examples. When adding plant materials to the compost, avoid any that are diseased and any invasive plants or weeds. Although the temperature of a compost pile can kill bacteria

Some Surprises

There are some other household items you may not have considered for the compost heap. Dryer lint is one example. You can


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