Benefits of Using Compost

Compost is one of nature's best mulches and soil amendments and you can use it instead of commercial fertilizers. Best of all, compost is cheap. You can make it without spending a cent. Using compost improves soil structure, texture and aeration and increases the soil's water-holding capacity. Compost loosens clay's soils and helps sandy soils retain water. Adding compost improves soil fertility and stimulates healthy root development in plants.

Compost is the end product of a complex feeding pattern involving hundreds of different organisms, including bacteria, fungi, worms and insects. What remains after these organisms break down organic materials is the rich earthy substance your garden will love.

Creating a Compost Pile

What To Add

  • Breads and cereals
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Dry grass clippings (free of pesticides)
  • Fruit and vegetable rinds and peels
  • Hair and fur
  • Manure from:
    • Cows
    • Duck
    • Goats
    • Horses
    • Pigs
    • Sheep
    • Etc.
  • Peanut shells
  • Saw Dust
  • Shredded paper (avoid colored or treated paper)
  • Spent plants and deadheaded flowers
  • Straw and Hay
  • Tea bags and coffee granules
  • Wood ashes

What To Avoid

A few leaf species such as live oak, southern magnolia and holly trees are too tough and leathery for easy composting. Avoid all parts of the black walnut tree as they contain a plant poison that survives composting. Eucalyptus leaves can be toxic to other plants. And avoid using poison oak, poison ivy and sumac.

Other things to avoid:

  • Coal ashes
  • Dairy products
  • Diapers
  • Diseased plants
  • Meat and meat products
  • Peanut butter
  • Salad dressings
  • Weeds with persistent root systems