There are 4 basic necessities for home composting – nitrogen, carbon, air, and water. So how do we get started, what can be recycled? Anything that’s lived before is a rule of thumb.

Greens – Nitrogen rich materials, rapidly decomposing

  • Fruit, vegetable scraps
  • Raw table scraps
  • Grass clippings – spread in layers to prevent bulking
  • Scraps for home composting
  • Flower cuttings & garden plants
  • Young green weeds – as long as they have not gone to seed
  • Chicken manure – speeds up the process
  • Green hay – spread in layers
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Vacuum cleaner dust
  • Tea leaves or bags
  • Coffee grounds
fruit and vegetable scraps ready for the compost pile
Fruit and vegetable scraps make a great addition to the home compost pile

Browns – Carbon-rich materials, slow to decompose

  • Newspaper for home composting
  • Cardboard– cut up
  • Newspaper and paper – avoid glossy paper
  • Leaves
  • Sawdust – spread in layers to prevent bulking
  • Wood shavings
  • Woody prunings – cut up small to
  • Hedge clippings
  • Fallen leaves
  • Pine needles – acidic, use sparingly
  • Clean wood ash – sprinkle lightly, it is alkaline so can help adjust the pH
brown leaves ready for the compost pile
Leaves are one of the most common brown materials used in composting

Do not use diseased or seed infested weeds, bones, meat, banana, orange or peach peel, pet droppings, or anything inorganic like metal, plastic or glass.

To get your home composting project off to a quick start you can add a compost activator that contains bugs to eat and break down any organic material. Also adding garden soil will do the same.

Heat will speed up the home composting process so place your pile or bin in the sun. Chop or shred larger items so the bacteria can break them down quicker. Worm farms are an alternative way of home composting and turning kitchen waste into fantastic fertilizer.

Get started today and enjoy the many benefits of home composting!

Author

Hi, my name is Janie Blackford. I have been gardening in my South Carolina hometown for over 2 decades. You can learn more about me here.