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I think it’s easy to just throw everything in the compost bin. After all, instadisposal. Composting cuts down on the amount of waste that goes into a landfill AND helps your garden once the compost is ready. But there are actually quite a few things you shouldn’t put in your compost bin.
(Before I scare you off, you CAN actually be pretty lazy about composting, it just might not compost as fast. I am pretty lazy and just make sure I don’t put anything toxic in and turn it so we won’t get pests)
Putting the wrong things in your compost bin could attract some nasty critters- and the problems they bring.
Imbalance in your compost bin could cause your bin to smell bad.
You need to maintain a good balance of nitrogen and carbon in your compost. The “brown stuff” is rich in carbon while the “green stuff” is rich in nitrogen. You want more carbon that nitrogen.
The correct balance and moisture in your bin ensures that the compost heats up correctly to compost your materials quickly and give you a great turnover for nutrient rich compost to add to your garden. Correctly composting will save you a ton of money in your garden because soil and soil additives are EXPENSIVE.
Some common problems with compost bins:
- Pests (dogs, bugs, etc): You need to cover your food scraps with other types of materials. You can turn your compost to cover them.
- Smells bad: This is often due to inappropriate items in your bin, too much moisture or too much nitrogen. To fix, turn your compost and add more carbon materials. You can also cover it with a tarp if it’s a very rainy season so your compost won’t be soaked all of the time.
- Pile is dry: Add moisture. This seems obvious, but it’s easy to let the compost sit and forget about it.
- Compost pile isn’t warm enough: If you really want to have quick turnover, this is something you may check. This can be due to cold temperature outside, too little or too much moisture, not enough air flow, too small of a pile, or needing more nitrogen.
- Composts slower than expected: This could be due to issues with moisture or warmth in your pile, but often it’s just a matter of the size of the items that you put into your bin and how frequently you turn the compost. If you turn it more frequently, cut all things into small pieces before putting them in the compost bin, and add just the right amount of moisture then you’ll have the quickest turnaround. Worm compost bins are faster than traditional kinds.
Make sure to get the free printable below by signing up for my newsletter. Consult this to get some great ideas for brown and green materials to add to your bin.