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What can I do with the food I can't compost?

Annah Rachel


Joined: Aug 28, 2011
Posts: 112
brett watson


Joined: Apr 18, 2011
Posts: 100
Location: Northern California Zone 8b
Like what?


practice peace
Annah Rachel


Joined: Aug 28, 2011
Posts: 112
Meat, food cooked with oil or butter, bread products, bones, cheese, rice
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1398
Location: Chihuahua Desert
you CAN compost all of those things.  If it can rot, it can be composted.

Or, you can feed them to a dog, pig, chicken, or any other omnivore.


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Saybian Morgan
volunteer

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 580
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
    
    8
The only things you shouldn't really compost allot of is alliums and citrus and that's because they piss off the worms and their pre digestive henchmen. Burn your citrus as the ash is high in potassium.

I compost allot of meat, and I'll usually get rid of a gallon of used cooking oil over a 1 cubic meter or more heap.  I've switched to worm composting for the moment so I can make potting soil from the castings, currently I store the meat in the freezer for a real good hot compost in the winter or burn it for bonemeal when I'm in the mood to tolerate allot of smoke. I'm trying to refine tlud stove so it burn's hot enough to double burn smoke so I'm not stinking up the neighbourhood with sizzling rotten bones.
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
pressure cook it for an hour or two with some water and it'll all be paste and ready-made fertilizer. bones especially made a good calcium booster paste.


"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari

Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Black Soldier Fly larvae?

http://blacksoldierflyblog.com/


Idle dreamer

Annah Rachel


Joined: Aug 28, 2011
Posts: 112
Wait, is it really okay to compost any food I have?
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Yes, it's really ok. 

Annah Rachel


Joined: Aug 28, 2011
Posts: 112
Well, awesome. Thank you! 
Thelma McGowan


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
    
    2
the county composts roadkill.....

it might get a bit maggoty for a day or to ut I have never had a problem


There are no experts, Just people with more experience.
chip sanft


Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Posts: 114
Location: 18 acres (and heart) in zone 4 (central MN) -- current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 or 7?)
    
    3
gossamermoonspider wrote:
Wait, is it really okay to compost any food I have?


You can find information on this in the Humanure Handbook. The author has a website <http://humanurehandbook.com/> and offers a free download of the book here <http://humanurehandbook.com/downloads/Humanure_Handbook_all.pdf>.

The main idea, however, is simple: with the proper balance of "greens" and "browns" (which might take on a different meaning in this context), you can indeed compost anything.
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2125
Location: FL
    
  50
General instructions for composting are targeted for the mainstream backyard gardener.  Around here, we are a bit more hardcore.  Meat, dairy and fat/oil based foods have a considerably higher level of proteins.  Proteins break down in a process called putrifaction.  This process can be malodorous, particularly in a crowded population area where the compost is close to a neighbors house and the compost volume is near or below a minimum size of about a cubic yard.  The odors tend to attract rodents, flies, and offend the delicate noses of homeowners associations.

A well built or large heap, or a heap which is some distance from delicate noses would not have this problem.  Anything that was once alive-plant, animal, microbe can be composted.  I've seen entire calves composted.  I just turned a heap to which I had added a possum and some poultry several months ago-no sign of them.

If you live in a densely populated area and wish to compost meat, oil, and dairy items, I recommend you place these items deep in the heap and cover them well.  If the heap is good and hot, the stuff will be consumed within a week or two.


Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
http://farmwhisperer.com
                              


Joined: Jan 26, 2011
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado, Zone 5, Cold Semi-arid
Thanks for that, Ken.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
black soldier flies will eat all of that, and within 24 hours. while reducing weight by 95%. and the larvae can self harvest themselves and make great chicken feed.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
                            


Joined: Aug 02, 2011
Posts: 19
Another reason that the composting of protein is not recommended in built-up areas, besides the smell of putrefaction, is the process can attract animals like dogs, rats and bears etc.
Saybian Morgan
volunteer

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 580
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
    
    8
I have dogs, rats, bears, cayottes, racoons, cougars, deer, and owls.

They don't, wont, and can't smell a working compost as a source of food because it's 50 C and too hot to dig up. People who profess to stick to a lettuce leaf compost are catering to the lowest form of compost which is a pile of garbage that's not composting.

Meat goes in the corner, on the next turn it's not meat anymore. If your compost doesn't reach 50c by the 4th to 8th day, then what you have is a garbage pile that's going to need one of those ridiculous amounts of time like 6 months, and won't be very good in the end.
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
I never had a problem of smell when throwing meat leftovers into the compost pile. I just dig a hole in the middle, chuck in the meat remains and cover it up. When I switched to simply laying compostables on the ground instead of composting, I just tucked the meat under the mulch and voila! Of course, if you have a lot of meat to get rid of you have to spread it around a bigger pile or put it on a larger area of ground and perhaps bury it under a little soil.
                            


Joined: Aug 02, 2011
Posts: 19
Didn't say that I don't use the protein products in my compost bins.
Heck my compost runs quite a bit of the time on decomposing, sheep, goat, rabbit, duck and chicken remains.

And have plenty of rats, raccoons, bears, etc. in the hood.



Joe Skeletor


Joined: Jan 04, 2010
Posts: 107
Location: Blue Island, Illinois - Zone 6a - (Lake Effect) - surrounded by zone 5b
Anybody have any thoughts on cooked foods that have salts in them? Do you still throw these kind of items in your compost heap ? I'm always weary of it because it's going to end up on my growing areas again eventually. Reminds me that I shouldn't be using salt as much anyhow!

Joe
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
black soldier flies, im telling you. just look them up. the benefits they give are too numerous to list. on that list is everything you have asked for.
Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1278
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
If you can eat it... so can the bacteria/fungus/worms/etc. As long as it is reasonably balanced like a good diet for people should be, there probably nothing in there that will be too much. If I eat a bunch of chemicals... that is, I buy food from the store (particularly pre-made stuff) It may not be that good to compost... but then it is not too good for me to eat either. If I am willing to eat that junk, then I guess it doesn't matter if I compost it for my veggies because I don't care. If I do care what I eat, then the left overs will be healthy for my compost as well... and the compost will be good for my garden.

That is the simple answer... A compost pile can take less good foods and make better compost than the food quality. However, there are some chemicals that can't be composted because they remain in the form they are used in the food... like preservatives for example. These are designed to kill those things that compost food.

My 2 cents anyway.
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
I often compost the leftover bones, meat/fish scraps in the ground and not in an above ground pile. Check it out...

You can rotate areas and eventually plant into. Just an idear. I've had pretty good piles which reached 180f that a few bears we're curious about here in the blue ridge foothills, as their noses are just that good from time to time! They're stocking up on grubs at the moment for the winter time. 

Nifty ay?


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Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Wow, you could feed a lot of rabbits and chickens on those greens! 
mary beth rew


Joined: Apr 11, 2011
Posts: 12
on the salt question: i add a lot of seaweed to my compost pile, i don't rinse it or do anything to it, so i imagine it contains quite a bit of salt, and i've had no trouble. i had a certified permie tell me the same, as her experience has been nothing but positive with seaweed. so, extrapolating, i think food with salt should be ok, i certainly haven't put anything aside that i had cooked with salt in it... ok if i brine a whole chicken or something, dump the brine solution in a place i don't care so much about, but the food itself goes in the compost.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
i generally ..if I can't feed it to the animals, dig a hole and bury it...also do that with animal carcasses etc..in the garden as they'll feed the soil as they rot


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
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George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
Brenda Groth wrote:
i generally ..if I can't feed it to the animals, dig a hole and bury it...also do that with animal carcasses etc..in the garden as they'll feed the soil as they rot
yeah, good call.. I goto the community bioconversion centre in town where they have compost piles that are 30-40feet tall and 200 yards long. At the bottom of each if you dig around with your shovel a bit you'll find a number of complete animal skeletons ;- ). If you've got a industrial grinder, you can make a nice fine bonemeal, which my friend in town has done a # of times.
Troy Rhodes


Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 185
    
    2
Just bury the stuff, either in the garden plot or in the compost pile.  Works fine.

Just for a different view of this "problem"...

Let's say we get into a really difficult economic situation, and food gets prohibitively expensive, ditto with fertilizer.

The smell that attracts all those "unwanted" visitors/animals, is really attracting more fertilizer.  That's what guns and traps are for.

Steve Solomon's "Gardening When it Counts" describes gathering road kill as an emergency fertilizer product.

HTH,

troy
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2125
Location: FL
    
  50
Salt
Life needs a little bit of salt.  The little bit you sprinkle on your food that ends up in the compost heap won't hurt a thing, will probably help a little.  To do damage to your soil, you need to spread salt around like chemical fertilizer.

I've got a 50# mineral block in the back field for the bull.  It has melted just a little from the light rain of the past few weeks.  There are weeds growing next to it.

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
solarguy2003 wrote:


The smell that attracts all those "unwanted" visitors/animals, is really attracting more fertilizer. 


Or attracting dinner...
Paul Cereghino
volunteer

Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 847
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
    
  14
I love you people... glory be decomposition!


Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute
Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
Steve Coffman


Joined: Sep 15, 2011
Posts: 4
A couple of people mentioned BSF (black soldier fly) larvae. When I first saw them in my worm bin I thought oh shit...maggots. Then I googled what I saw and it turns out they are quite safe and beneficial for compost piles. Apparently they work symbiotically with worms....and they are voracious. See them eating fish here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-zAbzRx29I&NR=1). They eat just about anything....and very quickly.

I live in So. Oregon and in the spring the BSF comes in when it warms and leaves when it cools. This year I attracted them with fermenting corn. You can find out more about them at http://blacksoldierflyblog.com/
Anybody else have experience with this very cool composter?


Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Here's my BSF Maggotarium:



                                  


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 19
my friend has a deli.  he gave me several buckets of pickles that had been in his garage for 1 year.  i wanted the buckets for storage (bad idea, the smell is permanently in the plastic).

i buried them next to the compost pile and only covered the pickles (worst smell ever!).  no smell the day after.  no city critters dug up the pickles.  the soil keeps it's secrets!

i say bury it!!!
Jack Shawburn


Joined: Jan 18, 2011
Posts: 230
I have seen websites showing whole dead cows composted on commercial farms
and only "a few little" white bones remain.
I think most food (and dead ducks) will compost just fine if they can remain aerated
so that the process remains "hot" and does not get
to the groundwater before fully composted.
I find that amazing..
                              


Joined: Aug 26, 2011
Posts: 71
"If your compost doesn't reach 50c by the 4th to 8th day, then what you have is a garbage pile that's going to need one of those ridiculous amounts of time like 6 months, and won't be very good in the end."

Sabyan, I beg to differ. I've slow composted alot when I've not been in a hurry and haven't had the ability to turn the compost. I take care with how I build the compost and it's certainly not a garbage pile. I end up with good compost at the end of the process. I've put dead rats in those composts, as well as fat/oils, dairy and occasionally meat, and not had a problem, but I think the ratio of dead animal/meat to compost size is important if I don't want live rats, dogs etc.
Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1278
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
One thing I have found helps is I don't throw all my grass and other garden trimmings directly into the compost. I set them aside to use as "cover materiel" for when I put kitchen scraps out (including meat and bones). I push some of the current cover aside, make a hole, put kitchen scraps in, cover hole.... put cover materiel over as needed. I think that this gives a better mixture than some kitchen scraps then a whole pile of garden trim... it mixes them better. I have used paper as cover when garden trim is used up.... there is a whole other thread about why this may be a not so good idea. At least it doesn't smell.
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
The ideal ratio is 30:1 for those interested. 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen material. Works every damn time. Peace ~
Takaya Chi


Joined: Jul 05, 2012
Posts: 10
I agree with many above that you can compost virtually anything and normal rules apply, dense hard materials compost faster if broken up or shredded like bones from an animal or a log. A fast way to speed up the rate of composting is to add liquids and microrganisms to ferment the composting waste some ideas for ferments are vinegar + sugar or lactic acid bacteria sometimes called EM-1 or perhaps just a well brewed AACT(actively aerated compost tea) any of these to add microbial life and help ferment will work well just make sure to cover the compost after applying your microorganisms for fermentation. It is these little critters that will greatly increase your rate of composting!
Hope you have fun reusing your waste!
Cheers
Lloyd George


Joined: Jan 25, 2012
Posts: 159
fastest way to compost something...run it through a chicken or a pig...
 
 
subject: What can I do with the food I can't compost?
 
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