Thursday, May 18, 2017

Composting rules I break, and why I break them

There are lists of what could/should and should not be tossed into a compost pile. I disregard most of them, because they make no biological sense. However, local conditions and ingredients affect my decisions.

What I don't compost, and why:
  • Eggshells
    Our soil has plenty of calcium, and the grackles or ravens rummage through the compost for shells, then carry the shells a short distance and drop them. It's not worth the mess they cause.
  • Cactus pads
    The fleshy part decays quickly, but the spines last forever in the compost. It hurts.
  • Palm fronds
    They are too fibrous to run through a chipper shredder, and the fibers last a long time, making the compost hard to turn or sift. 
    If you want to prune your palm trees, do it in time for Palm Sunday in the spring or Sukkot in the fall.  People will love you for donating fronds to their ceremonies.
What I compost that I'm "not supposed" to:
  • Kitty litter
    We use locally produced pellet fuel - compressed sawdust - as litter. After removing the feces because ewww! the urine-soaked sawdust composts easily.  I'm not worried about pathogens because they are my cats. They live with me, sleep on my bed and wander through my house.
  • Meat and leftovers containing meat or grease
    If you can compost an entire dead elk by piling sawdust over it, a few scraps of stew meat aren't going to make your compost pile die. 
    If I lived where the meat could attract scavengers such as bears or raccoons, I would keep most food scraps out of the compost.

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