50 things you can Compost

Compost is essential in a vegetable garden and a great way of reducing your waste footprint if you are trying to live a “greener” existence. I have been composting properly for about three years now and over that time I have learnt a little about what you can and can’t put in your compost pile.

 The basics are simple – anything natural or plant based can be composted, with a couple of exceptions. Avoid meats, fats, dairy as this attracts rodents and smell awful. Most waste can be broken down into what they call green waste and brown waste. Usually they suggest you have for every 1 of “green waste” you have at least 3 or 4 “brown”

The “green” are usually moist and nitrogen rich and break down quickly. 

 A list of “Green” Waste 

  1. Fruit and vegetable peels – just be careful I have found potato peeling love to sprout in compost
  2. Citrus rinds
  3. Melon rinds
  4. Coffee grounds
  5. Tea leaves/tea bags
  6. Old vegetables from the crisper
  7. Houseplant trimmings
  8. Weeds that haven’t gone to seed
  9. Grass clippings
  10. Fresh leaves
  11. Deadheads from flowers
  12. Dead plants (as long as they aren’t diseased)
  13. Seaweed
  14. Cooked plain rice* these can be left out if you are worried about vermin
  15. Cooked plain pasta*
  16. Stale bread*  
  17. Corn husks
  18. Corn cobs
  19. Broccoli stalks
  20. Sod that you’ve removed to make new garden beds
  21. Thinnings from the vegetable garden
  22. Spent bulbs that you used for forcing indoors
  23. Holiday greenery (from wreaths and swags, for example) – just be sure to cut the stems off of the wreath form or wires first)
  24. Rabbit and Guinea pig poop
  25. Egg shells.

 “Brown” waste is carbon rich, it breaks down slowly and aerates the compost pile

 A List of “Brown” waste

  1. Shredded newspaper
  2. Shredded office paper/school papers
  3. Shredded, non-glossy junk mail
  4. Torn up plain corrugated cardboard boxes (not with glossy coatings)
  5. Straw
  6. Bedding from hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits – we use Cookie’s bedding
  7. Fall leaves
  8. Chopped up twigs and small branches
  9. Pine cones
  10. Nut shells (avoid walnut shells as they can inhibit plant growth)
  11. Excelsior
  12. Raffia
  13. Used napkins
  14. Toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping paper tubes
  15. Fallen bird’s nests
  16. Pine needles/pine straw
  17. Paper coffee filters (used)
  18. Pressed paper egg cartons, torn into small pieces
  19. Sawdust (only from untreated wood)
  20. Brown paper shopping bags, shredded/torn
  21. Brown paper lunch bags, shredded/torn
  22. Leftover peat or coir from seed starting
  23. Coir liners for hanging baskets
  24. Wood chips
  25. Bedding from chickens.

The smaller you break things up the quicker they can decompose, turning your pile frequently is essential and if it gets too damp add lots of “brown” to balance things out and hopefully by next summer you should have gorgeous compost for your vegetable garden.
I have made a printable list for you too so you can add it to your gardening file if you have one


How are things growing in your garden ? Do you have a compost pile and know of more things we can add ? Feel free to comment below and let me know.


6 thoughts on “50 things you can Compost

  1. Val Manchuk says:

    Hi Amber,

    Just stopping by from the Say G'Day link party.
    Good post! We are faithful composters coming up twenty-five years now, and it has improved our garden tremendously. Thank you so much for the list. It will definitely be going into my gardening journal.
    Have a great day!

    Val @ artsybuildinglady.blogspot.ca


  2. Renee Cheatham says:

    Composting is something that I have wanted to start here. I feel so awful tossing all my vegetable and fruit scraps in the garbage. My mom has offered to bring a trailer-load of soiled bedding and manure from her ranch so I can compost it!


  3. Natasha In Oz says:

    Great advice here Amber. I've just pinned your post and it is also on my Pinterest Page on Facebook. Thanks for sharing at the Say G'day Saturday Linky Party!

    Best wishes for a fabulous week,
    Natasha in Oz


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