You Can't Compost Meat (And Other Ridiculous Myths)



Most of us have read articles on “how to compost.” Some of us (like me… your friendly neighborhood mad scientist) have read many thousands of pages on the subject.

If you listen to the experts, the process sounds like a pain in the neck. No meat! No bread! No oils! No paper! Make a nice set of boxes! Put hardware cloth and motion detectors in to control rats! Get the C/N ratio right! Ensure a thermophilic reaction! Ask your neighbors first! Keep it moist but not wet! Check with local authorities! Turn it monthly – weekly – daily – hourly!

Yikes... no wonder we keep throwing banana peels in the trash.

It’s time to take a deep breath and re-think composting.

At a basic level, composting is simply a process of rot you can harness to feed your plants. To get started right now, you don’t need bins or a mix of “browns and greens.” Compost is like magic – you take “waste” and make it into a resource. Every bit of organic material that passes through your household can be returned to the soil. All you need is a shovel. Got a garden bed? Dig a trench and dump in food scraps, egg shells, bones, leftovers, even junk mail (not the glossy stuff or envelopes with plastic windows, obviously) and then bury it. Congratulations – you’ve just added nutrients back to the soil and there’s no smell, no infrastructure, and little trouble. If you’ve buried it deep enough, the critters aren’t a problem – and as long as you’re not burying piles of sawdust or tons of paper, “nitrogen robbing” won’t be a big deal.

11/8/2019 7:26:07 AM

Here's a little-known tidbit: bones burn just exactly like wood except that they are a HUGE calcium fixer for the soil! Most butchers will give them away en mass, too.

Naomi Aldort Parenting Guidance
3/25/2019 1:54:16 AM

I am so lazy, that I never even bothered to read all the composting information. I have been doing exactly what you say here for years now. Just piling it by my garden beds and giving it a quick mix with dirt, about once a week when my pale if full. It is all turning and full of worms. I bury bones and meat stuff more deeply (collected separately).

7/30/2014 9:02:13 PM

I agree 100%. Most sites make composting seem far too confusing! Ever notice that banana peel that you lost track of in the yard a few days ago? Barely recognizable... all curled up and brown. That's composting. It's THAT simple. Sure, you can perfect it to make it more efficient, but it's not necessary. There are some common sense rules to that need to be follow as you begin your journey. The rest can be figured out as you go. Or sit down and sip a glass of organic wine with a neighbor who is a composting guru, and you'll gain a years worth of knowledge in one evening! 1) Keep it moist, but don't soak it to the point of standing water. If it's dry, it won't ruin the pile, but it will just pretty much stop composting till it gets wet again. 2) Don't add petroleum based things, or things with toxics in/on them. I.e., plastics, toxic inks, engine oil (a huge no-no). 3) Only add things that came from nature like plants, trees, corn, leaves, paper, cardboard, leaves, grass trimmings, etc. 4) No animal products in home compost system unless it is far from your house and has a fence around it, as it will stink and attract animals. 5) Either turn (mix) occasionally, or add red-wigglers (a type of earth worm) to do it for you :-) Red wigglers are inexpensive, self reproducing, cut your labor, speed your composting and make richer compost via there "Castings" (a nice name for worm poop :-). So stop thinking about it, find a spot and start tossing food scraps there. The rest will come with time. That's pretty much it! Happy composting. Jeff P |

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