Can you compost these things?

Here are some recent composting questions we received that aren’t long enough for separate articles, so we combined them.

Can avocado skin be composted?

Avocado skin can be added to the compost, but because it is so tough, it will take ages to break down, so adding it is not recommended. Adding avocado skin will slow down the decomposition process, even if it’s broken down into tiny pieces before adding it to the mix. 

Can baked beans go in compost?

In an enclosed bin, baked beans should be fine to add to compost, as they are basically just beans in a tomato-based sauce. However, if the compost bin is not enclosed, the salt and other flavorings may attract unwanted animals or vermin. 

Can banana peels be composted?

Yes, banana peels can be composted and typically take around four weeks to break down. Speed up the process by cutting the peel into small pieces before adding it to the compost mix. 

Can compost be too old?

Composted organic matter does not go bad unless it is stored improperly. However, compost does continue to break down, losing volume and nutrients the longer it is in storage. Try to use your compost within one to three years for best results. Improperly stored compost will go bad. The best way to store compost is in a covered container that is not airtight and lets in some water.

Are nightcrawlers good for compost?

Yes, nightcrawlers and other types of earthworms are good for compost if you see some in your compost pile. They speed up the composting process and help break down organic waste. It is not necessary to add them though, and they’ll probably just crawl away. If the compost is in contact with the ground, they will find their own way in. Vermicomposting is a different concept, explained here.

Are orange peels bad for compost?

No, orange peels and any other citrus peels can be added to compost to bring in phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. Break your orange peels down to the smallest possible sizes before adding them into the mix, as large pieces of orange peel will take a long time to break down. The smaller you are able to make your peel pieces, the quicker they will break down and enrich your compost. Orange peels are rich in nitrogen and can help speed up microorganism activity when added to compost. 

Are plastic compost bins any good?

Yes, plastic compost bins are a good choice because they are sturdy, long-lasting, well-insulated, and easy to clean. Unlike wood, plastic composting equipment will last for years without rotting or wearing down. For a small space, plastic compost bins are perfect. Another advantage of plastic compost bins is that they are easy to move around.

Which worm is best for composting?

earthworm on the sidewalk

QUESTION: Which worm is best for composting? Can I just buy some at the bait store, or do they need to be a special kind? I was going to add them to my compost pile. — Ed W

ANSWER: Unless you’re using the vermicomposting method, you don’t need to worry about managing the worms in your compost heap. They’ll crawl in from outside sometimes and will come and go as they please, which is perfectly fine. You don’t need the worms in a regular compost pile, and as a matter of fact, when the pile heats up, the high temperature would kill any worms that were in the heap anyway.

For vermicomposting, the preferred types of worms are red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) and redworms (Lumbricus rubellus).

Where can I get rid of compost?

If you’ve used all the compost you can in your garden, in potted plants, and on your lawn (and you’ve stored some away for later use), you should have no trouble finding someone to take the remainder of it off your hands. If you have friends, family, or neighbors who garden, they will more than likely be willing to take some of your surplus compost off your hands. You can also check with schools that have gardens or community gardens in your area that may be able to put your extra compost to use.

Farms located near you should have plenty of land that they’re growing things on where your compost could be put to good use. Farmer’s markets in some cities have collection locations where you can drop off food waste and compost. Some composters have even turned to websites like Craigslist to sell their excess compost or give it away for free.

However, before you get rid of your compost, you should be certain that you don’t have a use for it yourself. In addition to mixing compost into your soil, you can also layer it on top of your garden beds and use it as a mulch. If you keep horses or cows, compost can be used as bedding for these animals. You can also use compost as you would soil to level out uneven or sloping areas on your property.

Which tea bags can be composted?

paper tea bags can be composted

Tea bags that do not contain plastic are safe for composting. Although you wouldn’t think tea bags use plastic, some companies use the sealing plastic polypropylene to keep the tea bags in one piece. Polypropylene is non-biodegradable, which means it will not break down and should not be used in composting. However, even if the bag uses plastic, you can pour the used tea leaves out of the bag to include in your compost pile.

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Can you compost oranges and lemons?

lemon and orange ready for composting

Yes, putting citrus peels into your compost has many benefits. However, if you are vermicomposting, there are certain worms that prefer not to eat citrus, so adding citrus products to your vermicomposting system can slow down the decomposition process in some cases, but in regular composting systems, adding citrus fruit and peels have many benefits and can and should be added to compost instead of being tossed into the trash. 

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