Arke Stairs
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Starting a Compost Bin

Q: I’m starting a compost bin to use as fertilizer for a vegetable garden. I know to use plant matter, etc., but is there anything I should avoid placing in the bin?

A: Avoid cat or dog droppings because they may contain disease organisms that can contaminate the compost. Avoid ash (coal or charcoal) because it may contain materials that are toxic to plants. Don’t add lime because high alkaline pH can kill the composting action. The problem with meats, fat, grease, oil and bones is that they don’t break down easily, can coat the other materials and “preserve” them from the composting action. Like meats, milk, yogurt and cheese can also attract pests, so if you compost these things, put them deep in the middle |of the pile.

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