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What’s In Your Compost Bowl?

March 27th, 2009

Our conversations about compost last week were fantastic. I really enjoyed reading everyone tips about what and how they compost. I thought we’d continue the conversation today and talk about what you put in your compost piles.
There are things that you shouldn’t put in your compost pile like oily and fatty things, dairy and a few other things. I buy locally pastured chickens and I bury the bones in my garden, I figure it saves me from buying bone meal. I have yet to have trouble with my dog or any other animal getting in to it.

We compost whatever we can, anything that is natural goes into our compost pile including things like:
My organic cotton balls. I use non-toxic natural products so I don’t have to worry about any chemicals that remain on the cotton ball. I also compost my q-tips and any paper towels I use.
We buy recycled toilet paper, so the wrappers and the empty rolls go into the compost pile as well.
You can add brown craft paper and newspaper to your piles as well. It does break down quicker if you shred it first.
We also try to buy things that come without packaging or packaging that can be composted (this helps reduce the amount of garbage we produce). The coffee we buy comes in compostable bags and the sponges we buy can be thrown into the compost pile when it’s worn out.
All of the crumbs from my bread board go into the pile.
As do all of my tea bags and even my dryer lint gets thrown in there (when I’m not drying clothes outside of course). My vacuum cleaner gets emptied into the bin as well and my compostable dryer sheets.
I’m sure there are things I’ve never considered adding to my compost pile that I could. Every now and then it dawns on me that I can compost something I’ve been throwing away all along, like old cotton rags.

So what’s in your compost pile? Do you compost anything we may not have thought of?

20 Comments to “What’s In Your Compost Bowl?”
  1. Ryan on March 27, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Hey great post!

    I’ve recently started my own home compost bin and I compost pretty much everything I can. One thing that I have just started to compost is my rabbit litter. My rabbit does his business in a litter tray which is filled with a wood based litter which is perfect for the heap. And another thing that I never thought to compost is the contents of your vacuum cleaner!! Apparently its good stuff for the heap, so I will be trying that one soon too!

    Please take a peek at my blog for my compost creation!


    Ryan’s last blog post.. The ultimate recycling project

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    • Susy on March 27, 2009 at 9:23 am

      Oh yeah, rabbit litter is great. I also add the content of my vacuum cleaner. Although if you have plastic carpets you may end up with plastic fibers that won’t decompose in your pile. We have all jute or wool rugs in our home.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Marcia in Largo on March 27, 2009 at 6:11 am

    I love your organic tips! Have already gotten so much, and would love to subscribe to your site. Thanks for the insight!

    Reply to Marcia in Largo's comment

  3. Mangochild on March 27, 2009 at 7:35 am

    I am starting to compost (very slowly, on a very small scale) and generally put in all my produce wastes (e.g. peels from carrots, skins from mangoes, apple cores, bread bits from when I slice bread, etc) I haven’t been adding anything else – I didn’t know that you could compost all these other things too. Thanks for the info :-)

    Mangochild’s last blog post.. On Breakfast Cereal All Day Long

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    • Susy on March 27, 2009 at 9:18 am

      I also throw things like paper towels in there (I buy unbleached recycled). Just about anything that’s made out of natural materials can be composted. It really does go a long way at reducing the amount of garbage you produce.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Daphne on March 27, 2009 at 8:05 am

    The two biggest things I compost are leaves and grass clippings. The surrounding towns collect leaves in the brown paper bags. They would compost them, but I’m greedy. I want to make the compost instead for my garden. So in the fall on the way home, I stop and pick them up. I don’t tend to compost my newspaper. I’ve always wondered if I should be composting or recycling that, but I recycle it. I used to get a lot of coffee grounds from the local coffee shop. I quit a few years ago, but I’d love to start again. I want my husband to collect it from work. We will see how that goes over there.

    Daphne’s last blog post.. Rites of Spring

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    • Susy on March 27, 2009 at 9:16 am

      I don’t do all of my newspaper, I tend to use it more as a weed barrier cloth in other places. I have enough leaves for my brown matter in the compost pile, I don’t often need more. . I’m thinking of contact my local coffee shop as well to see if they can save me their grounds.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. ChristyACB on March 27, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I first started composting in a bin for that purpose last year. It didn’t work and it now resembles a future archaeological dig depicting life in the 21st century. Truly. Perfectly preserved and very odd.

    I’ve just purchased a bottle of starter microbes and hope to get it going again.

    For a while, I put everything you spoke of in there with some grass clippings, old leaves and compost to give it a good start.

    ChristyACB’s last blog post.. Blast From Our Soda Past

    Reply to ChristyACB's comment

    • Susy on March 27, 2009 at 9:59 am

      Yes, if you end up with too much brown stuff and not enough moisture the pile will not decompose very quickly. I try to add a pretty good mix of each, especially in the beginning. Add a bit of finished compost is a great way to get the pile going as well.

      I’m actually considering a worm bin for the basement for my kitchen scraps. Then I could make compost all winter long, our piles cool quite a bit in the winter here, if I turned them more they’d stay warmer.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Sande on March 27, 2009 at 9:47 am

    What a lot of good ideas you’ve shown. I wouldn’t even know where to find some of those things like compostable coffee bags and naked sponges! I compost all of our vegetable scraps, paper towels, coffee grounds, egg shells, the cardboard egg shell cartons, etc. Also grass and leaves from the yard. We have a chipper to help break down the leaves now and it works well. It should get a real workout this fall. My big problem is turning the piles. Hard on the back and shoulders. Because I don’t want critters in the yard I put the kitchen scraps into garbage cans with holes drilled in and do the brown-green layers until they break down some. I have 3 garbage cans to do that with so it works pretty well. I also have 3 bins made from pallets for the bigger stuff.

    Sande’s last blog post.. Gardening Lessons, Nature Walk

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    • Susy on March 27, 2009 at 9:58 am

      Turning it is quite a workout. I’m usually up for it though. I don’t turn it quite as much as I should, usually about once or twice a month. I suppose if I did it more often I would get compost faster.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Pampered Mom on March 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    We pretty much put very similar things in our compost bin. I would say the most unique thing I put in our compost bin this week was some cotton sherpa cloths that had gotten too threadbare to be used. I cut them up into thin strips and add them to the pile!

    Pampered Mom’s last blog post.. The Play Tent – Revised

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  8. Ginger on March 27, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    this is a great post. we hardly have any trash because almost everything is recycled or composted. I need to find coffee that comes in a recycable or compostable bag!!
    We have three indoor pets so we have lots of pet hair to put in the compost.

    Ginger’s last blog post.. La vie en rose

    Reply to Ginger's comment

  9. Diane on April 19, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I think there’s loads of things I don’t compost now I’ve read this! The vacuum gets emptied into the bin – or rather it did! I suspect it’s going onto the compost heap from now on!

    I’ve got a collection of toilet roll tubes that I’m going to use for seeds – when they’ve been used for that and if they’ve nto rotted in the ground then I’ll compost them!
    I’ve started looking at everything in a different light now I’m growing things again! I eve look forward to the lawn needing mowing as it all adds to the compost heap!

    Diane’s last blog post.. New products at Wynsors

    Reply to Diane's comment

  10. ed on August 23, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I basically compost anything that rots away and that does not have harmful chemicals in it.
    That includes cooked food (many people say you should not). Chicken scraps (people say you should not put animal stuff in it), potato skins (again there is the myth you should not). Plus all the regular things such as carton, paper, eggshells.
    I do not turn my compost heap, too much work an useless.
    I leave it as long as possible, but sometimes when I need a higher bed, I already fill up the lower part with anything that will compost but hasn’t yet.

    I need my composting to be easy so I do not make a science of it: anything goes, even twigs and old wood, as long as it is not stained or pressure treated.
    Never had a problem with smelly compost, animals or flies. I just keep it covered with a layer of hedera vines that I have in abundance.

    Everything that comes out of the garden goed back in the garden unless it is eaten.

    The result: great looking compost and hardly any waste for the city

    Reply to ed's comment

  11. Miguel on August 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    In the photo you have showing the bread crumbs, in the background you have some empty egg shells. Guess what—you can put those in the compost too. Just rinse them out and crumble them up. Adds some important minerals to the mix.

    Reply to Miguel's comment

    • Susy on August 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm

      I actually save my egg shells, dry and crush them and add them directly to the garden.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • S Hubbs on December 27, 2009 at 3:06 pm

      Why rinse the egg shells?? That just puts more water to the sewer system and washes away nutrients that could add to the value of your compost!

      Reply to S Hubbs's comment

  12. […] I won’t redo all of our composting items, you can check them out on my blog in my post “What’s in your compost bowl?“ I love screening the compost. It makes me happy knowing that I made this for my garden. […]

    Reply to Sunday Photos….Compost and Soil « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment

  13. […] can, so I use material I can find in my local area (like all those rocks), mix my own potting mix, make compost, collect leaves, and pretty much anything that will help save me money when it comes to gardening. […]

    Reply to Propagating Perennials with Stem Cuttings | Chiot’s Run's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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