What Goes into the Compost Bin?

When it comes to starting a compost pile, one of the biggest questions is what actually goes into it – and, more importantly, what doesn’t. The basic rule for a successful compost pile is a 50-50 mix of green and brown materials.

Here’s a list to guide you in having a successful compost pile. Also, watch this video episode of Down & Dirty with Gardener Jim Martin to learn how to set up your backyard compost pile and start fertilizing your flower and vegetable beds.

__Green Items for the Compost Pile__
– Fresh grass clippings
– Fresh garden trimmings, flowers, plant leaves
– Barnyard manure (horse, cow, chicken)
– Garden vegetable leaves and stalks, fallen fruit
– Weed leaves, stems and flowers
– House plants and potting mix

__Green Items that Don’t Belong in the Compost Pile__
– Clippings treated with “weed & feed” or other herbicide
– Insect- or disease-infected plants
– Pet feces (cat, dog, bird, rodents)
– Meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, cooked vegetables and fruit
– Weed seed heads and roots of spreading weeds; also Bermuda grass or rattlesnake weed

__Brown Items for the Compost Pile__
– Autumn leaves
– Twigs and stalks
– Coarse sawdust and shavings
– Shredded paper, cardboard, paper towels, napkins, tissues

__Brown Items that Don’t Belong in the Compost Pile__
– Large amounts of evergreen leaves, needles or cones
– Branch over ½ inch diameter, berry brambles, rose stems, holly
– Sawdust from plywood, painted or treated wood
– Coated photo or copy paper, colored paper, waxed cardboard

Don’t forget a lot of kitchen scraps can go into your compost pile, including egg shells, fruits, coffee grounds, grains and corn husks.

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