27 - 2008

Composter giveaway; what to compost

Green Daily is giving away a $300-value composter package for those who comment with what they would compost by July 2. It’s a random drawing, so I am generously decreasing my own chances by letting all of you in on it! Good luck!

Also, our neighborhood newsletter arrived yesterday with a slightly wackadoodle article about composting. She had a good basic how-to, but she mentioned that she composts shrimp shells and fish waste (she must be quite a seafood aficionado in landlocked Denver). I wasn’t so sure about that, but here are two university references, one that says “fish-waste composting is a little trickier than the backyard variety,” and one that offers a whole publication about how to do it. As for the shrimp shells, this list includes them among 163 things that can be composted. Another site notes that the smell could attract animals … that’s what I would worry about with both of these items.

I’m not sure what the difference is between composting fish waste and composting meat, which composters (the individuals, not the bins) are generally cautioned against. This site says that because meat is high in fat, it will break down slowly and create odors. However, you could add it; just run it through the blender first. Good to know about the fish waste; if you cook a whole fish, it’s impossible not to have some waste, whereas we try extremely hard not to waste a bit of the meat we have (but we are not dealing with bones, etc.).

The article’s author went on to say that she doesn’t compost eggshells “because they contain calcium.” Now, never have I seen a caution against composting calcium, and in fact, it’s an important element for some parts of the garden, like tomatoes. (Blossom end rot, that nasty soft gray spot at one end of your tomatoes, is caused by a calcium deficiency.) You can even crush eggshells and toss them in the hole before you plant your tomatoes to help — and there’s certainly no reason to avoid composting eggshells and other stuff. Some people dry them first in the oven, and I’m honestly not sure why — mine aren’t usually soggy. Any drying devotees out there?

What other odd items have you learned you can compost? Or learned, through hard experience, that you cannot?

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