Compost do’s and don’ts!


Composting – saving your greens for compost has been going on for centuries! As you prepare all those hearty winter meals don’t forget to collect those Cauliflower leaves, Broccoli stalks and Carrot peels for the compost bin! You can also add crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, potato peelings and more! But some things do not go into the compost and this list should help you identify what you can put in and what you can’t!

Good compost is produced by blending leafy ‘green’?matter with harder ‘brown’?matter. ‘Green’?matter includes grass clippings, vegetable scraps, and soft green prunings. ‘Brown’?matter is shredded woody branches, dried leaves, straw and shredded newspaper. But never add the heavily inked shiny coloured paper from brochures, magazines and catalogues.
Try to add brown and green matter in layers, not making any layer too thick. If you put in too much green matter, the compost may go sludgy and smelly. Too much brown matter and it won’t break down quickly. With a good balance of the two, composting will proceed quickly.

Finally, the addition of some soil will encourage the introduction of composting microorganisms which facilitate the breakdown of the material.

What you can add:
• Vegetable and food scraps
• Fallen leaves (in layers)
• Dead flowers
• Weeds
• Grass cuttings in layers
• Coffee grounds
• Tea leaves and tea bags (remove staples).
• Soft stems
• Old potting mix
• Egg shells (crushed)
• Old newspapers (wet)
• Used vegetable cooking oil (small amounts)
• Sawdust (not from treated timber)

Do not add these:

• Meat and dairy products
• Citrus fruits
• Onions
• Fat
• Diseased plants
• Metals, plastic, glass
• Animal manures (especially the droppings of cats and dogs)
• Large branches
• Weeds that have seeds or underground stems
• Magazines
• Bread or cake

Make sure you turn over or aerate your compost heap often – and keep it covered to prevent rodents moving in. If your compost is too dense or your layers are too thick, your heap may go a bit smelly, just turn it over and aerate it, mix it about a bit and add some dry items, next time make thinner layers.

Compost heaps in the full sun can get very hot and even smoke! It is possible for a heap to catch fire too! So keep your heap out of the full sun and make sure you turn it often! Keep kids and animals away from it if you think it’s getting too hot.