Expired vitamins in the compost?

adiro(5b/6a Canada)November 3, 2008


I have started a compost bin this August, at the suggestion of some nice members here. It is a smallish square bin purchased. I kept adding brown cardboard broken in little pieces, along with kitchen scraps and yard clippings that I actually collected from the park ( my yard is too small to yield more than a half pound.)

Anyway, being too enthusiastic I already used it ( it was nowhere near finished) about a month ago, making a little raised bed over newspapers, and I covered with burlap. That bed is now level with the ground, it decreased down to nothing...the burlap is still in place, the newspapers are still there ( wet), the compost turned into a thin layer of muddy dirt...)

please tell me if that's ok

Now the real question:

In my rush to make my bin full again (and it's only one third full) I started gathering stuff from my mom too. Then I cleaned up my meds drawer, and I threw in it the contents of some jars of expired vitamins and minerals, plus a really large jar of Calcium pills. Now it is after the fact, but I am wondering if the vitamins will hurt my plants in the long run? They have disolved already....

Thank you

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rph3664(5b/6a Illinois)

I couldn't imagine it would, any more than some of the other stuff people have accidentally put in compost piles! Pesticides, that sort of thing.

I have some Atkins vitamins that tasted terrible, and I dissolve them and put them into the water when I use Aqua Spikes, mainly for the micronutrients.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 6:20PM
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I wouldn't be at all surprised if those actually help with your garden. Especially if you end up getting worms in your compost this winter. If the stuff is dissolved, they are bound to eat them and cast the dissolved minerals in a form the plants could take up. That's just me speculating, though. I haven't looked it up or experienced any such thing. Maybe I should, though. I have some GNC vitamins that were so huge I was discouraged from taking them. If they can aid my garden, the money doesn't go to waste. Sometimes, if your pile starts to cool off it encourages the red wigglers to start showing up and using the compost for food and insulation. That's how I got my red wigglers for vermicomposting. In the heat they just tend to move to the outskirts of the compost. Just thought I'd share that since you seem to be in an area that it would be more convenient and if you can get the red wigglers from compost it wouldn't cost you anything for the worms. They reproduce incredibly fast.

As far as the unfinished compost in the garden, yes. That's okay. Might be a little too moist if it's muddy, though. Does it stink? That's not good. If not and it smells "earthy" then you have some good stuff. You might end up having to loosen it in spring.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 6:47PM
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adiro(5b/6a Canada)

Thank you for your answers! My thinking was that the supplements can't hurt, but then you never know.... they weren't expired for long, in any case...

So far I haven't seen worms in my compost bin, but many coming to my new " lasagna", a couple I 've found even on top of the burlap fabric. I don't know about the red wigglers, never seen any. The ones I do see seem to be fat big earth worms. After emptying the bin, I moved it two feet further and I incorporated the area where it sit on before into this new bed. The dirt there was full of worms, but none going into the bin ( thank God, actually, their sight is not enchanting to me)
BTW, the bed doesn't smell at all.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 7:28PM
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gnomey(7b SC zip296)

I think you'll be just fine. I wouldn't worry.

As for the case of the disappearing compost, that's normal too. I'm always amazed at the volume of stuff I can put in my tumbler or in the piles or stacked up on the beds... whatever.. I'm blown away by how much it shrinks. If it wasn't done when you put it down there, maybe it is now.

At any rate, it will continue to break down and that's one of the joys of compost. There is always a need for it and you always have to make more. There's never enough. Sometimes I feel like a waitress, a servant to my compost. Like the customer who comes to dinner thirsty and constantly needs a refill... It's a labor of love though, as I truly am a compost wacko.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 7:44PM
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I'm glad you asked the question. I have some dog vitamins that have been around for too long, and I was considering doing the same thing.

I think I will.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 12:53AM
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The vitamins are no problem. They will dissolve easily enough and get worked into the mix. The calcium tablets will work wonders if you use the compost for a calcium loving plant, which is just about any fruiting plant, but tomatoes and peppers love the extra calcium. I have heard that an excess of calcium can interfere with iron uptake, but it takes a lot to do that, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 6:07PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

If one found anabolic steroids along with the vitamins in mom's drawers would it be alright to compost them too? Just kidding. VBG. etc.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 12:29PM
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What were you doing in your mom's drawers in the first place, you prevert! LOL

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 11:27AM
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