I was extraordinarily excited to receive the most amazing Valentine’s Day gift from my thoughtful husband: a stainless steel compost bin. It’s shiny. It has a handle AND a charcoal filter. I did some digging online and found a few tips that have helped us out over the past month.
Brown vs. Green Material
Something I kept seeing on blogs about composting was figuring out how much brown material to green material should be in your bin. Brown Material (paper, cardboard, leaves, hair, wood, natural fibres, untreated wood/ash, etc.) is the “dry” part of your mix. Brown Material is carbon rich, and if you notice your compost is very wet & stinky, you need more Brown! Ironically, manure can be added as Brown Material as well - so long as it comes from a vegetarian diet!
On the other hand, Green Material is the nitrogen-rich goop that breaks down your kitchen scraps into that super-delicious dirt that your garden loves. Green Material refers to things like veggie cuttings, peels, grass clippings, and apple cores. Pro Tip: Cut up your Green & Brown Material into small pieces to speed up decomp time.
What shouldn’t you put in a compost pile? Basically…anything that will kill you, or attract maggots. BLEH. Avoid putting any dairy and meat products. Egg shells can be added to compost, provided they are rinsed out.
Citrus products should also be avoided if you’re planning on vermiposting - worms won’t want to eat your lemon and orange peels. No worries, keep those for your homemade cleaner!
If you’re an avid tea drinker, like me, make sure you’re not throwing any bagged tea into your compost - they are often made from synthetic fibres or have nasty chemicals in the glue that holds them together. Instead, cut the bags open and empty the leaves into your compost.
Glossy paper/magazines should not go into your compost pile either. They often contain trace plastics and will leave your compost greasy.
If you’re planning on putting wood chips and/or ashes into your compost make sure it HAS NOT BEEN TREATED with any chemicals, paint or stain. Have you heard of arsenic? Guess what! It’s in pressure treated wood! So don’t put it in your compost! Additionally, do not put ashes from coal fires in your compost. They are usually toxic and the high sulphur content will hurt your garden.
Do you have any tips for composting? Let me know in the comments! I’m itching to see what my compost looks like in 5 months!