Compost Rules

Composting is a natural and easy way to reduce waste and produce excellent, nutritious material for gardening. If everyone follows these simple rules we will get large quantities of beautiful, rich compost - without bad odors or vermin infestations.

How to Participate

Add the material from the IN LIST below. Don’t save it up. Ideally, (especially during the warm season) we would have a continuous stream of small deliveries, rather than larger amounts all at once. It helps if larger stuff is broken up.

            We have two large cinder-block composting structures, one on each side of the garden, in the NW and NE corners. New material is ALWAYS added to the pile in the right-most bay of the structures. Occasionally, the material in the bay will need to be covered with burlap. Move the cover aside to add your material and then replace the cover. 

                        The other bays are used as the compost ages, they should never get new material. The finished material will be in the left-most bay. Monitoring, adjusting, and turning the compost will be done by Compost Fairies (see contacts).

What to Compost 

The IN LIST

This is the stuff that we want a lot of:

•   Garden material - weeds, old plants, old veggies - not diseased

•   Coffee grounds and filters

•   Eggshells - but not whole eggs (neither raw nor cooked)

•   Fruits and vegetables

•   Grass clippings – not chemically treated

•   Hair and fur

•   Hay and straw

•   Houseplants - no pesticides

•   Leaves

•   Nut shells

•   Tea bags

•   Yard trimmings - if you have more than a trash bag’s worth let us know

The ASK FIRST LIST

This stuff is compostable, but we need to keep track of it, please ask BEFORE adding it.

•   Animal manure (not from pets - this is manure from large herbivores)

•   Cardboard rolls

•   Clean paper

•   Cotton and Wool rags

•   Fireplace ashes

•   Sawdust

•   Wood chips

What Not to Compost

The OUT LIST

•   Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs

•   Creates odor problems and attracts pests such as rodents and flies

•   Fats, grease, lard, or oils

•   Creates odor problems and attracts pests such as rodents and flies

•   Meat or fish bones and scraps

•   Creates odor problems and attracts pests such as rodents and flies

•   Coal or charcoal ash

•   Contains substances harmful to plants

•   Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)

•   Frequently contains parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, or viruses harmful to humans or detrimental to the good soil bacteria that we want

•   Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides

•   Kills beneficial composting organisms

•   Diseased or badly insect-ridden plants

•   Diseases or insects can survive and be transferred back to the garden

•   Black walnut tree leaves or twigs

•   Releases substances that might be harmful to plants

 

 

Mistakes  - these are the mistakes that we need to avoid making!

1.    Adding trash - things that can’t rot can’t be composted. No plastic, styrofoam, metal, etc.

2.    Adding things that attract rats - see the OUT LIST above. Animal protein, pet waste, and fats/oils will spoil this project (and foul the air).

3.    Adding toxins - this will wind up killing our plants or worse, getting into our food. This is an organic garden, so add no material that has been treated with pesticides or herbicides.

4.    Too much of a good thing - Composting should be done in layers with lots of different types of inputs. If you find yourself with more than a shopping bag full of something compostable, please contact us about whether we can handle all of it, and how fast to add it.

 

Contacts

Adam Hammond, ahammond@uchicago.edu, cell phone # 773-793-0150