pasta in compost

debraq(z7LI*NY)June 17, 2008

Hi, I saw on the Oprah show recently and their compost "expert" said that you can put cooked pasta in the compost pile. She also added bones,some dairy, cooked veggies, salad and bread!

I didn't think these things were good for the pile. What are the facts. What can I add and what shouldn't I put in there?

I do cold composting.thanks for all advice!


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adirondackgardener(Western Maine)

If you can eat it you can compost it. Critters may get into to also, but you certainly can compost it. Bones take a whole to compost but they eventually do rot do add nutrients to the mix.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:59PM
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wow, all these years and the things I haven't composted! You mean I can actually add the pasta in the tomato sauce too? Also I don't add any paper in there either but I just read in another discussion that people add every kind of paper not just unprinted. Is this true too?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:11PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes, all of them are perfectly legit ingredients.

Many choose to avoid dairy products and oils because they slow the process and may attract pests if not handled properly. Bones will take a great deal of time but that doesn't mean you can't use them. Personally I compost bones from fish, meat, and chicken and U of C Davis used to have a list that included dead birds and animals on their list of compostables. Composting dead animals is being done successfully throughout animal agriculture. It just depends on what does or doesn't appeal to you in your situation.

Since you cold compost and are in no rush for finished product, feel free to use them if you wish. It's your choice. Unfinished, they just get sifted out and tossed back into the pile.

As to what you can and cannot add, there are literally hundreds of discussions here on that question that you can review. The only "NO's" that consistently come up are meat, fats, and poison ivy/oak and even they are debatable. Many have other items they prefer not to add but that all boils down to personal preferences.

Personal preferences aside, technically, anything that is organic (made from what was living material) can be composted.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:14PM
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david52 Zone 6

If you compost alphabet pasta the worms will arrange the letters and send you messages. At least, mine do.

Here is a link that might be useful: something like this

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 10:42AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

Yup... last night we had bbq chicken done on the grill, with corn on the cob and a side salad.... the bones, the cobs, the left over salad scrapings, and the paper plates all went into the pile when we were done. Easy and FAST clean up.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 10:52AM
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There are people (well, one person) who say not to compost bread, but that's because they (she) have soggy bread issues; plus pasta is ALREADY soggy bread :-).

If we ate it, I compost it. (Except for the frying oil, for the two or three times a year that we fry; that goes on the brush pile.)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 11:54AM
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David52: Just what are those pasta messages saying to you -:)


    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 1:22PM
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What is in pasta? Grains (flour), eggs, some oil. What is in pasta that would be bad for the compost? Nothing in a quantity that would be harmful.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 1:58PM
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david52 Zone 6

PJ - haiku.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 5:58PM
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Very funny David. I think I may have had a message from them already.
Seriously though, I guess there is a world of things I haven't added in my compost pile. Just veggie scraps, coffee, & tea from the house and brown leaves and garden clippings from my yard.
I didn't do anything with the pile except put more on top and keep it covered with dark plastic.It took about 4 years but this year when the guy who cuts my lawn uncovered it, he came up to my door and asked me if I wanted "all that compost in the backyard?". ( its about four feet by four feet and a few few tall! ) And I, of course said "Yes" and thought to myself two things.
#1, its done, and #2, Keep your hands off my compost, fella"
Now, I watch him like a hawk because its so nice and black, and loamy , and fresh-smelling....
So I started another pile two feet away! I'm hooked.
Now I want to learn how to make compost tea! Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 12:58PM
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