Is there anything I can't compost?

I know not to put cooked food and dog poop in there (pity, because I've got a big dog), but I was wondering about putting things like citrus peel and banana skins, can I put those in?

I know to put things in in layers (so a layer of kitchen waste, followed by something like shredded paper or torn up newspaper, so the mixture doesn't get too wet), what is the point of layering if I then go and turn it all in a couple of weeks?  Is this just so everything is uniformly mixed (so the compost bin doesn't have a load of paper at the bottom, followed by a load of slimy kitchen waste?

New to this composting lark, hoping it will save me some money come spring, the how-to videos don't really go into enough detail.  I also try to chop up the waste as much as possible, so there is more surface area for the bacteria to work on.  Can I also add a layer of manure to the mixture?  I'm hoping to get some at half-term from the local stables.

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Posts

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    I put citrus peel in mine, but some advice against this as it might make the medium too acid for the worms. I put banana skins in, but some advise against this as they might attract rodents. Yes you can add manure - I don't think anyone would advise against that!

    Mixing the compost, in my understanding, improves aeration, and hastens the composting process.
    I must admit, I'm quite lazy about the layering, just sling it into the bin as it becomes available, but I do mix it frequently. I have 3 dalek bins, and use a tool like this http://www.primrose.co.uk/-p-2083.html?adtype=pla&kwd=&gclid=CJDC94S1iLMCFWXJtAodUDYAAw to mix it up.

    One of our regular posters, Palaisglide, is very knowledgable about all compost related issues, hopefully he'll pick up the thread.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    I am not an expert yet, but just started a new bin; a shovel of horse manure at the bottom followed by whatever I'm clearing from the garden, excluding evergreens and very woody stuff. I layer it by shredding envelopes as we are not allowed to recycle them. I don't bother chopping things minutely; it is going to take 5 or 6 months to rot so they tend to break down. Every 4 inches (100 millimetres) I add a sprinkle of compost accelerator, from any garden shop. If it is looking very dry I sprinkle a bit of water. Some Starbucks will give you spent coffee grounds to add; this I believe makes compost more acidic - my soil is v. alkali so that is good for this garden. Also you could add stinging nettles BEFORE they set seed as they are supposed to be good. Also the pulp from juicing fruit and veg. I believe it will not have as many nutrients as shop bought compost, but you can add plant food.

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  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    Mummy Muddy Paws - have I said before how much I like your name ? -  it sounds as if you've done good research. Creating more surface area is a good idea on things that will otherwise rot down rather slowly. I find citrus is fine unless you use industrial quantities of the stuff, banana skins I tend to chop small otherwise they take ages to go, teabags don't go in because they have a plastic element in the paper which means they don't compost well and eggshells stay forever, it seems, unless you grind them up. I don't turn my compost, just stir it occasionally and wait.

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  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    ChrissieB, I've only recently found out about the teabags, I always wondered why there were little papery ghosts left in the compost.

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  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    I put in banana etc. Any kitchen waste. Don't use tea bags but have loose tea, dregs always go in. Used to put egg shells in but don't any more. Stir when \i think about it.

    I restrict amount of grass clippings that go in. about 3 inch layer every noe and again

    Have 2 tardis and expecting a 3rd. One to de-compose, one for use, one to fill up. Very surprised at how good compost is that comes out. Only my 2nd composting year

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    I allow slightly crushed eggshells, as they make a ready made slug deterrent.

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    I got given one of these a couple of years ago:

    image

     It sieves the compost, any twiggy bits, eggshells etc get slung back into the bin currently being filled, they break down eventually!

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