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What To Put in a Compost Pile
Now that we have talked about making a compost bin, let's discuss what exactly to put in a compost pile. You can put a lot of different things in it, but there are also some things that you can't put in. Once you get the hang of it though, it is pretty easy to do. Adding things to your compost pile will really reduce the amount of trash you produce.
Many times when people think of adding things to the compost pile they think of two things - food scraps or yard waste. The truth is you can add both. I have found that I can add as much food as I want, but I have to limit the amount of yard waste that I put in or my compost is out of balance.
As for yard waste you can add grass clippings, leaves, pulled up plants or weeds that haven't gone to seed, hay or straw and dirt. You can also add sawdust if is from untreated wood. The thing is you don't want to add too much of any one thing or it gets out of whack. A compost pile needs both carbon material and nitrogen material to stay in balance. By making sure that you have some of many different types of things in your pile you will ensure that it stays in balance.
There are many food items that can be added to a compost pile. Coffee grounds, used tea bags, melon rinds, peelings, corn cobs, egg shells, fruits and vegetables. If something has gone bad in your fridge or on your counter it might be great for your compost pile. You do NOT want to add any meats, eggs or dairy products to your pile. You can tear up cardboard boxes, shred newspapers and even break styrofoam into small pieces and add it to compost piles. I just make sure not to add too much of these ingredients.
Other tips for making sure your compost pile does well are to make sure that it stays moist and that it has good air circulation. Turn your compost pile frequently and this will provide air circulation and speed up the breaking down process. You want your compost pile to be moist but not soaking wet. You can add manure if it is from a grain fed animal. Think chickens here. If my pile seems to be having trouble breaking down I will sometimes add a bag of chicken manure and mix it in well.
I hope this helps anyone out there wondering what is safe or not to add to your compost pile. It is very easy to compost, so if you haven't already, try it today!