Materials for your compost pile

Alfalfa meal and hay (the meal will activate the pile)

Algae (pond weeds)

Apple pomace (cider press waste)

Ashes (wood, not coal. Sprinkle lightly between layers, don't add ashes in big clumps)

Banana skins (as well as all fruit and vegetable peels, stalks, and foliage)

Bean shells and stalks

Bird cage cleanings

Broccoli stalks (shred, cut, or pound soft with a mallet)

Buckwheat hulls or straw

Cabbage stalks and leaves

Cocoa hulls

Cat litter (prophyllite, alfalfa pellets, or vermiculite before the cat has used it. Alfalfa pellets will help activate the pile)

Citrus wastes and rinds


Coffee wastes and grounds

Corn cobs (shred or chop)

Corn stalks (shred or chop)

Cottonseed hulls

Cotton waste ("gin trash")


Cucumber vines (unless they are diseased or insect-infected)

Dog food (dry dog food is a nitrogen/protein activator)

Dolomite Earthworms


Eggshells (grind or crush)

Fish scraps (bury in the center of the pile)


Grape pomace (winery waste)

Granite dust

Grass clippings (let dry first and use in thin layers between other materials; a thick mass will be a mess)


Hay (mixed grasses or salt marsh hay)

Hedge clippings Hops (brewery waste)

Kelp (seaweed)

Leaf mold



Lime (agricultural)


Milk (sour)


Melon wastes (vines, leaves, and rinds, unless diseased or infested)

Oat straw

Olive residues

Pea pods and vines

Peanut hulls

Peat moss

Phosphate rock

Pine needles (use sparingly; they are acidic and break down slowly)

Potash rock

Potato wastes (skins, etc.; watch out for insect-infested vines)

Rhubarb leaves

Rice hulls

Shells (ground clam, crab, lobster mussel, and oyster)

Sod and soil removed from other areas

Soybean straw

Sphagnum moss

Sugar cane residue (bagasse)

Tea leaves


Weeds (even with seeds, which be killed as the pile heats up)

Wheat straw