When I started gardening, most of the answers from my friends who knew a lot about gardening was "it depends".
This is true of what you can compost. The answer is different for different composting methods. Because of this I have listed the methods below and what you can and cannot compost.
02. Garden Composting
Click on any item below to learn more about it.
Grass clippings are an excellent source of nitrogen for your compost. You cannot compost grass clippings on their own. You need to add a source of carbon (cardboard, twigs etc...), otherwise the grass remains a slimy green mess.
Add your fallen leaves into your compost bin. Don't add too much of this brown waste (Carbon) to your pile without also having plenty of green waste (Nitrogen) like grass clippings and raw food waste.
Raw fruit and vegetable food scraps or waste
You can add all of your raw fruit and veg scraps into your garden compost bin. Be sure to cover your waste, as it can attract fruit flies in the summer.
Composting coffee grounds helps to add nitrogen to your compost. You can also add your used coffee filters.
Plastic free tea bags are better for our planet, and can also be composted too!
Paper, Newspaper and Cardboard
If you add paper, or newspaper to your compost try and make sure it thas as little ink on it as possible. Certainly DO NOT add glossy magazines.
Remove tape and as much labelling as possible from cardboard boxes. Shred cardboard up into smaller pieces for quicker decomposition.
Most disease free garden waste
You can add your prunings to your compost. Even add some old bark chips and a small amount of old compost if you like, just not too much.
For beginners, we recommend to leave out weeds. This is because you can compost some weeds, but it would be terrible to put in the wrong kind!
Vegetarian animal manure
Do you have veggy pets? You can add their poo to your compost! Ideally you would put it in the middle of the pile, keep the pile aerated to add oxygen to remove smells. this is more for hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits.
DO NOT compost dog and cat poo.
Wood shavings or sawdust
These are great for adding Carbon content to your compost bin.
WHAT TO AVOID!
Meat, Fat (including butter and oil), Dairy and Bones. These can attract rats, and make a really bad smell... If you want to compost these, the try Bokashi composting below...
You can add almost ALL food waste to your Bokashi bin. That’s right - almost all food waste! For those into a zero-waste lifestyle, you can tick the box in reducing your food waste to nearly 0%.
WHAT TO AVOID!
- Food that is already rotten or mouldy. You want your scraps to ferment, not rot in your bin. - Large bones - Shellfish shells like hard crab shells - Synthetic tea bags or staples - Liquids like milk. You want to avoid getting your Bokashi too wet.
Worms perform best in warm moist conditions. Between 18-25ºC is what to aim for. Their activity declines if they are kept below 10ºC and above 30ºC so be careful where you place your womery. Basically, in your kitchen, shed or garage where it stays within the required conditions.
The worms do not do well with lots of acidity and don't like being waterlogged.
What you can compost
- Any cooked vegetables - Any raw veg, except for onions, leeks and garlic that are best used in very small amounts or cooked first - All fruit, except citrus peel, which should be limited, or cooked before adding - Tea bags, eggshells, coffee grounds and small amounts of bread are fine to add to your wormery - Small amounts of newspaper, and cardboard, but not glossy magazines - Small amounts of garden waste like leaves and other soft green material
WHAT TO AVOID!
- Dairy products - Meat, fish or bones - Fat or grease - Bigger items of tough garden waste