12 Things Not To Put In Your Compost Pile

Open Permaculture

Compost is one of the permaculture gardener’s most potent tools. It recycles “waste” from the garden and the home and turns it into a material rich in nutrients, which soils benefit from immensely. Composting essentially means the decomposition of organic matter by enzymes and microorganisms. This decomposition releases nutrients from the material that, once the compost is added to the soil, become available for plants and soil organisms to use. There are lots of different things that you can put into your compost pile, including vegetables and fruit scraps from the kitchen, prunings, leaf litter and grass clippings from the garden, and even dead animals.

Tea and Coffee Bags
Coffee grounds and tealeaves definitively have a place in a permaculture garden. They are useful additions to the compost pile, adding generous amounts of phosphorous and potassium – two elements essential to plants – as well as to worm farms. However, coffee grounds and tealeaves must only be used in compost if they are “bag less.” The bags that some coffee and tea products come in do not break down rapidly in a compost pile, and can contain chemicals you don’t want in your soil.

Citrus Peel and Onions
While fruit and vegetables scraps from the kitchen are some of the fundamental inputs into a home compost pile, there are two exceptions: citrus peel and onions. The acidity in these can kill worms and other microorganisms, limiting the effectiveness of the decomposition.

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