Composting Tips and Tricks

Category Composting
Having the right combination of waste materials, moisture and air can make for a faster compost pile. This page is about composting tips and tricks.
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Do not throw out your tea bags with the trash. Save them in a dish and then empty them around your garden plants and shrubs. Makes a good substitute for peat and will add plant goodness and save you cash.

By alan julier from Cradley UK

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The benefits of composting are many, such as free vegetables, healthy flowers, and the joy of knowing you are removing garbage from landfills.

I started by attending a local "clean and beautiful" event in my hometown of Tucson, where I live in the winter, and bought 2 composters. One for my summer home in Pinetop, Arizona and one for Tucson. I have a friend in Colorado who made one in her back yard with chicken wire. Both will work, but we have lots of desert animals and black bear so we need to keep ours covered.

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I used the handouts from the local event so I knew what to compost. I notified friends and neighbors as I knew the two of us couldn't generate enough to make much compost. I was amazed how fast it will accumulate from neighbors coming by on their walks, the coffee grounds from our weekly community breakfast at our summer home, items at home like dryer lint, fruit and vegetable scraps, of course, and trimmings from the garden which add up.

In the fall, we shred our pine needles and oak leaves then add what I don't use to cover the garden for the winter. Starbucks gives away coffee grounds and my husband is good about stopping on his trips around town to pick up bags for me. We also have a Sunflower Market which has weekly food scrap give-aways in their parking lot for gardeners to pick up.

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What I didn't expect were the "free vegetables", which I will explain. In the early summer, after arriving at our summer home, I spread compost around my flowers for fertilizer. Several weeks later, a tomato plant surfaced by a rose bush. I watched it for awhile then decided to transplant it into my small container vegetable garden. By the end of summer, I had beautiful and delicious grape tomatoes. I dug the plant up in October and moved them to Tucson for the winter, and they flowered and produced fruit all winter. I then dug them up in May and brought them back to the mountain and, again, I have fruit and flowers this summer. An amazing plant which must have come from the tomatoes I bought at the supermarket over a year ago. They seem to be so hardy and I would love to be able to identify the variety. I hope you will try this and enjoy as I have.

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By sandra gaskill from Tucson, AZ

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I garden on what some people consider to be a large scale (to me it isn't). I also compost, I have been doing it for over 40 years.

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May 19, 2010

To enrich my compost, I save my peels as I'm cooking. I blend them till smooth and I stir them into the dirt of my compost pile. It reduces garbage and enriches my compost pile.

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Once in a while, we forget to eat a certain fruit or the fruit becomes moldy. Instead of tossing the fruit in the trash, you could cut the fruit into pieces and feed to your fruit trees.

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The bees will suck the natural sugars from the fruit giving them energy to go about pollinating your trees and helping to set fruit.

A moldy grapefruit.

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September 24, 2013

I put eggshells in a tray at the bottom of the oven. They get baked and brittle every time you use the oven. Just keep adding to the tray until it is full.

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November 9, 2010

Every fall, we see people working very hard with leaves, putting them in paper bags for city collection. Anyone who has even a modest back yard can use an easier method.

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You may already have a compost heap where you put your garden clippings, etc.

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Many garden tools are designed to make the job faster and easier, but an alternative usually exists that can accomplish the same task for a lot less money. Here's a rundown of six handy composting tools - what they do, why they are helpful, and the cost-saving alternatives.

Picture of a woman using a composter.

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October 5, 2015

I have a bucket in my kitchen next to the trash can, I call it my slop bucket. In it we rinse out food containers and cans, put in leftovers we don't end up eating, rinds, peels, sweeping the floor it goes in, vacuum bag, and hair cuttings. This bucket is dumped in the garden and flower beds all year around.

roses

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June 4, 2005

Composting is a great way to get amazing soil for your garden and keep some trash out of the landfill.

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Composting makes great fertilizer for my garden and reduces waste. I have tried a number of ways to avoid walking to compost pile every time I have compostable kitchen waste, veggies, fruit, paper napkins, plates, etc. Everything I tried, even fancy counter compost containers, left me with fruit flies.

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November 9, 2004

For a quick compost container, an old garbage can with the bottom cut out will do the trick. Just toss in fruit peels, vegetable scraps and the like, and pop on the lid.

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September 25, 2007

A good way to enrich your garden soil and help out the earth is to bury your "wet" garbage. I bury my apple, orange, potato peels, etc. in my garden. We can't have a compost heap, but I've found this works just as well.

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Since dryer lint is mostly organic material, it is great for the compost pile.

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October 18, 2007

Looking for advice on starting a compost? Here are some tips from the ThriftyFun community. Most people avoid meat and meat by-products because of the smell and the tendencies to attract flies which do nothing to help the compost process.

What Not to Put In Compost Pile

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Add flat cola to your compost pile. It seems to "richen" up the compost. I read this on some gardening site.

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September 8, 2008

Do not throw away your daily coffee grounds or tea from tea bags. Mulch or compost them.

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I use plastic 4 gallon buckets with lids to store my compost in by my back door. When they are full, I take them to the compost pile and dump them.

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October 31, 2001

Raked-up leaves make great compost and are good to dig into your garden now to enrich the soil for next year's crops.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 19, 2010

I see many references at various compost related info sites, where I often see, "no meat or animal products", but rarely an explanation as to why. Finally saw one response in your site, "because it gets smelly".

Is that the only reason? I thought maybe it might have something to do with such products (meat and meat products) cultivating an undesirable bacteria or something like that. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

By Annuity - Victor from San Francisco, CA

Answers

March 19, 20100 found this helpful

Such products also draw unwanted critters to paw through your compost pile, such as skunks, opossums, and rats.

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March 19, 20100 found this helpful

Seconding what 'readingiggits' said. Vermin!

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