Have you just started composting and don’t know what to compost? Are you confused about whether your moldy food is composting or just rotting? Don’t worry; this article includes all you need to know about composting moldy food.
One of the most commonly asked questions by beginners is: can you put moldy food in compost? In this article, you will see whether it is safe to add rotten food to your compost. Also, you will learn how to maintain the right balance of ingredients in the bin.
But before that, let’s take a quick look at what moldy food is.
What is Moldy Food?
Spoiled food with random white or green fuzzy spots is called moldy food. Molds are fungi that spread over food with a fluffy thread-like texture. The color of molds is due to the spores they produce once they have taken roots in the food.
Moreover, they carry a foul smell and have an unpleasant taste. Almost all foods are prone to mold growth. However, food stored in a warm damp environment is more likely to fall prey to molds.
Although moldy food isn’t suitable for eating purposes, it doesn’t mean that you have to discard it. In fact, organic food inhabited by molds can be a valuable addition to your compost pile. It releases many essential soil nutrients on decaying.
Read on to find out how to put moldy food to use for making compost.
Can You Put Moldy Food in Compost or Worm Bins?
At an initial stage, all you need to know is that you can compost all organic materials. These include animal manures and plant wastes such as shredded twigs, dead leaves, and lawn clippings. Moreover, you can compost tree limbs, coffee grounds, and vegetable refuse.
But let’s get to the main question here: Can you put moldy food in compost or not?
Yes, you can! The decomposition of the matter is the primary goal in the composting process. When you add moldy foods that can decompose naturally to your compost heap, you are already halfway done.
Isn’t that wonderful? With moldy foods in the bin, you will get great compost for your garden. However, there are some precautions that you should take to keep your compost functional and free of pests.
Apart from that, you should know which things or wastes can be potentially harmful to your compost. Also, you should know about the tools you need to add waste to your heap successfully.
Below is a five steps guide to putting moldy food in your compost bin.
How to Add Moldy Food to Compost Correctly?
As mentioned before, it is better to follow the recommended procedure for adding moldy food to compost. It helps prevent your compost from stinking and keeps your compost pest-free.
So, let’s take a look at the proper steps for putting moldy food in your compost heap.
Tools You Need
- Small Bucket
- Lid for Bucket
Blend the Moldy Food in a Processor
Although this step isn’t necessary, it is very beneficial for the smooth process. Most people collect food scraps in a bin. As a result, molds grow on the food over time and start decomposing it.
Once the bin is full, you should use a blender or food processor to convert the food scraps into pulp. It increases the speed of the digestion of food by microorganisms and keeps unwanted insects away. Moreover, it reduces the time frame of the composting process.
Besides, you can add old coffee grounds as well as rotten fruits and vegetables to the blended mix.
Place the Moldy Food in the Center of Your Pile
Throwing moldy food anywhere in the compost heap will not produce the desired results.
Experts recommend that you add rotten food in the center of your compost pile on a layer of brown dry material such as leaves or hay. It is important because the center of the pile retains more heat and accelerates the decomposition of wastes.
If you are using worm bins, make sure the worms travel around every bit of waste by frequently rotating the container.
Use Dried Brown Material to Cover the Moldy Food
Once you have added the moldy food to your compost pile, cover it with grass clippings, hay, or yard trimmings as they can encourage the growth of decomposers.
Add Garden Soil or Aged Manure
Garden soil and aged manure can speed up the composting process by providing extra heat. Moreover, adding water to the pile discourages the nesting of rodents.
Turn the pile
For better aeration, consider turning the compost frequently. It will keep the heap from smelling bad. Also, it will make decomposition easier.
You should repeat the steps above every time you add more moldy food to the pile. If you notice any pests or rodents, stop putting food scraps in the compost. Otherwise, your compost may go wrong.
What Else Can You Add to Your Compost Heap?
There are a lot of things at home that you can put in your compost bin. However, you have to be careful about the ingredients for the better quality of your compost. Not all organic waste is suitable for home-based compost heaps.
Now that you know all about moldy food, let’s see what other organic materials are safe for your compost.
A lot of paper napkins end up in the trash. Always buy chlorine-free paper napkins as they are compostable. You can add cardboard pieces and useless bills as well.
Another excellent option for your compost is wood chippings. Wood adds extra nutrients to your compost and decomposes naturally. If you have any leftover wood in your store, convert it into chippings and add it to your pile.
If you want dark nutrient-rich soil, leaves can play their part here. Collect the leaves as soon they fall off the trees and use your lawnmower to chop them. Add the chopped leaves to the heap of compost.
Chicken manure acts as an excellent fertilizer for all types of plants. If you have hens in your backyard, you can use their feces to make the grass greener. Thus, you can add the straw thick with manure to your compost pile instead of wasting it.
Like paper napkins, toilet rolls and paper towels can also break down as they are prepared from the bark of trees and pulp of plants. However, to keep your compost healthy, you should use uncolored paper products.
Benefits of Composting
Composting is an excellent way of recycling leftover food and plant wastes. These biodegradable wastes would have been dumped in a landfill otherwise. Almost every other person who has a backyard in his house relies on compost bins for a nutrient-rich supply of soil and compost.
Not only does it reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the refuse, but it also helps your crops flourish. Setting up a compost bin is easy, but knowing what you should add can be quite confusing.
According to research, we can reduce the amount of trash that goes to waste disposal sites by 30% if we compost our kitchen wastes.
Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of composting.
- Improves the soil quality and aeration
- Increases nutrient availability to plant roots
- Enhances water holding capacity of soil
- Adds essential vitamins to the soil
Things You Should Avoid Adding to Your Garden Compost
Given the excess of organic materials, it can be challenging to choose what to add and what not to add. To make things easier for you, we have put together a list of the things that you should not add to your compost pile.
Although fish and meat scraps are rich in nutrients, you shouldn’t add them to your compost heap. Meat gives off an enticing smell that attracts unwanted animals. Moreover, it can cause disease and ruin your compost.
Dyed and Glossy Paper
Old paper towels, shredded cardboard, and newspapers are a potential source of compost. However, colored and plastic-coated paper can be damaging for the compost pile. Thus, make sure that the paper products you add are not colored or dyed.
High levels of inorganic elements can kill the microorganisms in the soil. In addition, synthetic fertilizers release heavy metals that disturb the water contents of the ground. So, it would be best if you stick to natural materials only.
Onions and Citrus Peels
Many people use vegetable peels for composting. They are the most common ingredients in home-based compost piles. However, citrus peels and onions are exceptions.
Due to their acidic nature, they can kill decomposers and slow down the composting process. Also, it takes a lot of time to break down citrus peels unless you have chopped them into bits.
The Bottom Line
This article is based on recommendations of expert gardeners and explains the use of moldy food in compost. Moreover, it describes the necessary care measures for composting.
If you follow the instructions above, you will get dark, spongy soil for spreading in flower beds to ensure the healthy growth of your plants.