What do you put in your compost?

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My mother-in-law (you all should meet her sometime, she is undoubtedly one of a kind) got a gardening book for Christmas, and she was telling me that according to it you should put all your vegetable kitchen scraps in your compost pile, along with your paper toweling, leaves, grass, coffee grounds, and NO meat or oils. Okay, I can see this for the most part (paper towels?), but this book talked as though the vegetable scraps were essential. The problem is, I give all my vegetable scraps (cooked and uncooked) to my chickens, especially in the winter months when they are more limited in their diets.

I don't have a compost pile right now, but we're moving the garden this season, and there is a perfect spot for one in the new area. I thought before I jumped in and started I would find out what everyone else puts in theirs, and what seems to be the best combination.

-- Christine in OK (cljford@mmcable.com), January 18, 2002


Layers of foliage, manure, kitchen scraps when available, leaves, news paper (not the color print, the ink is proabilly not organic), mulch, anything that once was alive. Meat attracts flies, oil slowes the action. Keep it moist and turned over often, add earthworms if their available.

-- mitch hearn (moopups@citlink.net), January 18, 2002.

I put fish guts, any kitchen scraps that aren't meat or citrus type, any leaves that fall where I don't want them, twigs that fall off the trees, coffee filters (unbleached), spent potting soil, cotton lint from the clothes dryer, some of the ashes from the woodstove. The only paper I wouldn't put in their is if it had ink on it, and wasn't bleached. Unless I knew it was soy ink, but even then...

-- Dawn (olsoncln@ecenet.com), January 18, 2002.

Anything out of our kitchen---- we don't eat meat--so no problem there & we don't put oil either---- we also use leaves/grass clippings--straw out of the chicken house--- shredded paper out of the guina pigs cage----news papers out of the bottom of the birds cage--- anything that can decompose---it all works wonderful!!

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), January 18, 2002.

Dawn, why don't you put citrus type scraps in the compost? Also, I read once see and nuts will attract mice etc.

-- Cindy (SE. IN) (atilrthehony@hotmail.com), January 18, 2002.

We put it ALL in the compost. Who cares if it slows down a bit, it's a long process anyway. When I put out the scraps, I fling a layer of leaves or weeds over it to keep flies off. It all biodegrades in nature. Humans try to make easy stuff complicated so they can sell a book about it.

-- Rose (open_rose@hotmail.com), January 18, 2002.

I have two huge compost piles, which are now being put in garden, And starting new ones, take a tip from a old gal, pour a can of beer on pile, It will start it working, Its the yeast in beer.

-- Irene texas (tkorsborn@cs.com), January 18, 2002.

The nice thing about having chickens is that they take care of the composting veggies for you and give you nitrogen-rich manure in exchange. We have about a foot of straw in the coop and every three months we rake it out and dump it onto the garden site (or next to it if it's summer)...I hack up the straw with the lawnmower...my husband also does a great deal of woodworking, so all the sawdust goes in as well..any dead plant materials get dumped into compost..weeds, inside plants that I have killed, etc......we put our wood stove ashes there as well, after giving half to the hens for their dustbath hole....left over meat is non-existant in our house because we have 4 huge dogs who will eat anything. Your mother-in-law would be right if you didn't have the chickens..you're already halfway to compost with them as little factories! God bless.

-- lesley (martchas@bellsouth.net), January 18, 2002.

Cindy, I don't put citrus in their because I read not to. I don't remember why for the life of me, but I just remember reading it more than twice, so I guess it just stuck with me! That's a good question, though. I suppose I'll have to look that up.

-- Dawn (olsoncln@ecenet.com), January 18, 2002.

Cindy-- Dawn---- I read not to put citrus in beacuse it won't decompose---the rines won't===well I had to try it--- I put grapefruit rines in mine--they are still there --months later----do you suspose that is the reason??????

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), January 19, 2002.

Well, good, I'll just keep feeding my girls whatever I take a notion and put the rest in the compost pile, along with the cleanings-out from the chicken house. I neglected to mention that I don't ever give them the meat scraps, only the bread/pasta and vegetables. I have a hard time doing even this, when I was growing up if it was raw it went to the chickens, if it was cooked it went to the cats and dogs!

-- Christine in OK (cljford@mmcable.com), January 19, 2002.

It's fine to put citrus peels in your compost. I squeeze DOZENS of gallons of citrus juice and compost all of the peels. They do take awhile to decompose, but will not adversely affect the compost pile, so why not?

-- Elizabeth (ekfla@aol.com), January 19, 2002.

On my compost heap, I put the horse manure from the barn, straw and such when we clean out the chicken barn, and any scraps from the house. Usually the chickens get to the scraps, but anything they don't eat is left in the pile. We put a layer of leaves right on the garden each fall and let them decompose there. All of the old plants are plowed under each year as well. My garden is usually abundant, but gets weedy when I start canning!

-- Melissa (me@home.net), January 19, 2002.

Elizabeth-----question-------I put the whole/ halfs of grapefruit & oranges in my compose & they never have decomposed------do you cut yours up more or what??????? Any ideas?????

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), January 19, 2002.

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