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Marion's UpBeet Gardener
Newsletter has been
replaced by Marion's blog
which you can find at:
A young boy and his father were walking along a beach, when suddenly they came upon thousands of starfish left stranded on the sand by the receding tide. The young boy leaned over, picked up a starfish and tossed it, like a Frisbee, back into the ocean. Then he picked up another one, and carried it to the water's edge.
"Son, what are you doing? You can't possibly save them all."
"I guess not. But these uns'll make it."
The youngster believed that even when the situation seemed hopeless, he
could do his part. Composting is like that, too.
Every year, tons of organic
materials are thrown away, needlessly filling up landfills. By composting these materials, you can lengthen the life of your local landfill. Like tossing a starfish back into the ocean, you can make a difference by composting.
Compost to plants is like a healthy gourmet dinner to us.
Compared to preparing a snazzy dinner however, making compost is easy,
easy, easy. To learn how to make and use compost, read my Compost
Compost is not limited to tossing leaves and grass clippings into a pile.
It's much more creative than that! Here's a list of 163 materials (and still counting!) you can add to your compost pile or even bury in your garden. Just
think, 163 materials that don't end up in the landfill. Plus, your plants
benefit from the gourmet meal. Such a deal.
If you see something I've missed, send me an email so I can add it to the list. Just for fun, scan the whole list. You'll
find more resources, plus a surprise at the end by a letter sent in by Jean Bell, an organic
gardener in Scotland...
Burlap coffee bags
Lint from behind refrigerator
Popcorn (unpopped, 'Old Maids,' too)
Matches (paper or wood)
Seaweed and kelp
Old, dried up and faded herbs
Bird cage cleanings
Hoof and horn meal
Gin trash (wastes from cotton plants)
Hair clippings from the barber
Tea bags and grounds
Powdered/ground phosphate rock
Corncobs (takes a long time to decompose)
Milk (in small amounts)
Starfish (dead ones!)
Melted ice cream
Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks)
Expired flower arrangements
BBQ'd fish skin
Stale potato chips
Old leather gardening gloves
Guinea pig cage cleanings
Quail eggs (OK, I needed a 'Q' word)
Tea bags (black and herbal)
Electric razor trimmings
Bagasse (sugar cane residue)
Burned oatmeal (sorry, Mom)
Lint from clothes dryer
Tofu (it's only soybeans, man!)
Wine gone bad (what a waste!)
Fingernail and toenail clippings
Moss from last year's hanging baskets
Stale breakfast cereal
'Dust bunnies' from under the bed
Leather watch bands
Tossed salad (now THERE's tossing it!)
Brown paper bags
Lees from making wine
Vacuum cleaner bag contents
Coconut hull fiber
Old or outdated seeds
Macaroni and cheese
Liquid from canned vegetables
Liquid from canned fruit
Greeting card envelopes
Dead bees and flies
Peanut butter sandwiches
Dirt from soles of shoes, boots
Ivory soap scraps
Spoiled canned fruits and vegetables
Produce trimmings from grocery store
Cardboard cereal boxes (shredded)
Urine (It's true! Read the letters below)
More "compostable" reading:
The World's Fastest Compost
How to Compost Dog Waste
Manure Matters: How different manures rate
What about urine? As promised, the letter from Jean in Scotland...
I have been visiting your site with great interest for a while now -- thank goodness for your sensible advice for gardening in northern parts -- I am in the north of Scotland and have many of the meteorological challenges that you face, wind, rain, cold, etc. (but no bears)!
Your list of 163 materials for the compost bin is really useful but perhaps I can add another -- a British organic gardening writer, Bob Flowerdew, swears by peeing on his compost saying that urine acts as an accelerator. Actually he refers to it rather delicately as 'recycling his cider and beer.' This isn't so easy for us women but I do encourage my husband to provide the goods! One for the list?
Many thanks for all your ideas and beautiful photographs,
Yes, the nitrogen of urine is excellent for the compost pile and women CAN participate. Remember the peepot? You're too young. But in the 40's when i visited my grandmother who had no indoor plumbing, we had a pot for night visits. I now use a plastic tub on the closed toilet lid and catch a few ounces during the night. Then put the tub in the bottom of the shower and catch the shower water. All can be dumped on the compost. I live in a 2-story house and must carry the tub down... haven't dropped it yet. Yikes.
When I first began my compost pile many years ago... (we were young and gay)... after an evening of drinking, I'd invite my husband (now deceased) and his friends to make a trip to my compost pile. All thought it was quite fun! --Jan Trechsel, Alabama
are red, violets are blue.
Use compost on your flowers, and they'll be happy, too.
--Nursery rhyme from Marion Owen's organic gardening class