Weird things you Did not Know you Could compost.

I am a huge fan of composting for vegetable gardening.  The end product is wonderful for your soil and also makes use of things that are otherwise discarded which end up on the refuse piles and leave a big carbon footprint. The home is full of unusual compost items that you may not have ever thought to throw on the compost pile.

Unusual compost items that you may not have thought of adding to the compost pile.

Adding fresh organic matter that has been formed in compost piles is the perfect addition for your vegetable gardens.  This organic matter nourishes both the plants and the soil, resulting in healthy plants and higher crop yields.

Most people know that you need both greens and browns in a compost pile and make use of garden waste and kitchen scraps, but their are loads of unusual items that can also be added that many people may not think of.

Unusual Compost Items

When it comes to composting there are some specific rules, such as the ration of green to brown (varies and depends on the pile but normally about 2 green to 3 brown).   Other rules are no meat products or plastics.

But there are so many things out there that can be added to a compost pile and some are things you may not have thought of.  That dog hair that you get in your vacuum cleaner is a perfect example.

Here are a few of the oddities:

  • 100% cotton balls
  • Used Matchesused matches
  • Used Tissues
  • Paper Towels
  • Wine CorksWine corks
  • Peanut shells
  • Used Tea bags
  • Used Coffee GroundsCoffee grounds
  • Contents of vacuum bags
  • Pizza boxes (clean)
  • Aquarium water
  • Pet Hair
  • Egg shellsEgg shells
  • Old dried spices
  • Human hair
  • Dryer Lint
  • Stale bread
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Toothpicks
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Stale Bread
  • Stale pretzels
  • Plain cooked pasta
  • Shredded junk mailshred junk mail and add it to the compost pile
  • Crepe paper streamers from parties
  • Christmas tree (chop it up first with a wood chipper)
  • Flowers from floral arrangements
  • Hay bales when your decorations are overHay bale and pumpkin
  • Alcohol from beer bottles after a party (moistens the pile and activates it)
  • Wood ashes (be careful if you have low soil PH
  • Paper back books – remove the linings.

As you can see the list in almost endless.  Be sure to also see my list of items you should not compost.

Can you think of other things that would be good to add to a compost pile?  Add them in the comments below.

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  28 comments for “Weird things you Did not Know you Could compost.

  1. Pingback: Weird things to compost | Compost Cincy
  2. Pingback: Weird things you Did not Know you Could compost. - The Gardening Cook | protractedgarden
  3. Barbara Bowman
    02/14/2014 at 12:26 pm

    “Weird”????? Not really.

    • Usha
      11/24/2018 at 8:56 am

      I would like to know how long does tea waste take to decompose? As I am making a compost of just tea waste and paper.

      • Carol
        11/26/2018 at 3:29 pm

        Hi Usha. There is a section on weed tea in this post that will give some information about how to do it and how long. Carol

  4. Rupa
    08/27/2014 at 12:15 am

    Vegetable remains, vegetable skins, vegetable stock, leftover pulp after straining soups, juices etc. (infact, they are wonderful for all flowering plants), fruit skins, cardbaord boxes and cartons (shred them before adding them to your compost pile)

    • admin
      08/27/2014 at 7:26 pm

      Hi Rupa. I love adding parts of veggies to the compost pile. I have a huge butternut squash plant growing this year that originated in the pile and has given me huge butternut pumpkins already! Carol

  5. artsy one
    09/06/2014 at 9:21 am

    My experience with using hair, dryer lint and vacuum contents is that it doesn’t break down. Perhaps there’s some other reason? I no longer put those things in. Also advise people to chop up things as much as possible to spread up the process! Starbucks as well as other coffee shops will save their spent grounds for you!

    • admin
      09/06/2014 at 12:04 pm

      Hi. My dryer and vacuum lint seems to break down. It may have something to do with the amount of green to brown. (I have lots of kitchen refuse in mine.) I do agree about breaking things up well. It does speed things up. Carol

    • Christa
      02/11/2018 at 9:05 pm

      I save my dryer lint and hair for the birds. Makes good nesting materials for them.

      • Carol
        02/12/2018 at 10:13 am

        That is a very good idea Christa. I get the birds love the nice soft liners for their nests! Carol

      • Faith
        04/08/2018 at 6:21 pm

        Dryer lint and hair can get tangled around the birds feet cutting off circulation and essential amputating the foot do not use

    • Ann
      08/27/2018 at 1:50 pm

      If your dryer lint includes synthetic polyester, nylon etc. fibers, it really should not be composted. If you clear the lint trap after every cycle and the cycle is 100% cotton, that is ok to compost. The vacuum bag is the same way. Because the vacuum bag is not filled with purely natural stuff, it should not be composted. The marble, paper clip, rubber band, glitter, tiny plastic toy parts, or whatever else you vacuumed up that is not hair, dust bunnies and dirt should not be in the compost.

  6. R
    06/12/2015 at 8:41 am

    Wood ashes are basic, and will neutralize acid soil.

  7. 12/04/2015 at 12:09 pm

    I found that if you put most dry ingredients ( tissue tubes , newspaper ,etc ) through a shredder along with your leaves in the fall and dig them in with a fork they almost disappear come spring , also makes a great mulch. …Les..

    • Carol
      12/05/2015 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks for the tip Les!

  8. Eileen
    09/05/2016 at 12:54 pm

    What do I do with my compost in the winter and how does one look after it

    • Carol
      09/05/2016 at 6:23 pm

      Hi Eileen. A lot depends on where you live. If you are in the cold north, keeping a compost pile going can be a challenge. The pile needs the right mix of greens and browns. You can keep the green going by adding your kitchen scraps to it. But since plants are not growing, getting the right mix of browns can be tricky. Save your leaves in big garbage bags in the fall if you want to keep feeding the pile over the winter. Be sure to have something surrounding the active compost pile before it gets too cold.

      Another solution for winter composting in cold weather is an insulated composter that you can keep in a garage, and then take up the outdoor composting again in the spring.

    • Kathy
      05/12/2017 at 9:11 am

      You can continue to add things to your compost pile during the winter. Just remember to layer your browns and your greens since you won’t be able to turn it into everything thaws out. I normally have a trashcan of leaves in my shed in case I need some browns during in the winter.
      Just the process of freezing and thawing will help to break down your items.

      • Carol
        05/12/2017 at 11:01 am

        Thanks for the tips Kathy. Carol

  9. 05/14/2017 at 1:26 pm

    Hi All, I have leftovers from growing my one mushrooms, spawn, strow, grains, coffie ground ans woodchips. All grown with myselium and fungi. Also old or dryed mushrooms go on the compost bin. Also in the worm bin, the worms love it too.

  10. Mary Bass
    06/13/2017 at 2:01 pm

    Collect pumpkins after Halloween. Chop them up with a shovel and add to compost pile. They decompose quickly and make a great addition.

    • Carol
      06/13/2017 at 2:14 pm

      That’s a great tip Mary. Thanks for sharing it! Carol

  11. Cynthia
    10/21/2017 at 6:54 pm

    Hamsters/guinea pig/rabbits’ droppings and bedding

    • Carol
      10/21/2017 at 10:09 pm

      Great suggestions Cynthia. Didn’t think of that. Carol

  12. 06/05/2018 at 5:42 pm

    I compost all our utilized espresso beans and paper channel, purged egg shells, banana peels, lemon/orange/lime peels, shriveled tragic greens ,veggies we didn’t get the chance to eat from our crisper (how individuals toss these things of gold that could in their starter compost/containers rather, would rather observe them down the transfer is a disgrace!), our bathroom tissue moves/paper rolls, withered darker leaves , grower with earth to associate in decomposition as I stroll in the garden as I complete a disregard:

    I toss everything in a round tumbler with side wheels, water everything altogether, shut the cover and roll the canister 2x once per week and viola by the third week, I have my dark gold compost (a modest bunch of my compost brimming with gainful microorganisms!! exceeds 1 gallon of that rubbish engineered supernatural occurrence grew-toss it out people, ) Since utilizing just my compost, my garden hasn’t been healthier, so solid I haven’t needed to test my dirt for a long time now. Each nursery worker out there hear what I’m saying. COMPOSTING ROCKS and Spares Cash, YOUR PLANTS WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT SO DO IT !!

    Ps, I decline to pee on my compost lol, fecal issue is unquestionably a NONO, I still can’t seem to utilize build up, dress, hair and nail clippings however my compost is A+ with what I expressed I’ve been utilizing, air (tumbling) and water- – everybody has all to make theirs beginning today! Good fortunes.

  13. Theresa Wheat
    08/31/2018 at 2:37 pm

    I have a blender I picked up at a thrift store for $3.00 and now I blend all my vegetable and fruit scraps it saves on breaking down time…..

    • Carol
      09/01/2018 at 12:07 pm

      That’s a good idea Theresa. Thanks for sharing it. Carol

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