ABC Blog

Five Composting Nutrients You Need to Know About

What links aquariums, manure and coffee? Lawn care in Austin, of course.

Many everyday materials have all the nutrients you need for compostAnyone in Austin with a penchant for lawn care knows the benefits of composting. You likely know that it gives purpose to otherwise useless yard waste, and it’s one of the best means of nourishing plants into a large, healthy state. Many would-be composters mistakenly assume that they’ll have to go out of their way to create their own healthy compost, but a lot of the nutrients most essential to effective composting come from everyday materials.

1. Aquarium Gunk

Do you have an aquarium? If so, you have a ready source of moisture and nitrogen for your compost. When you clean the tank, toss the water, algae, waste and live plants from the aquarium directly into your compost heap.

2. Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds give your compost excellent doses of copper, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and each of these nutrients bolster plant growth when you use the compost for garden and lawn care.

If you don’t make or rarely make coffee, visit Ground to Ground. The campaign provides Austin homeowners, businesses and community gardens with buckets of free used grounds. All you need to do is return the bucket.

3. Herbivore Manure

Never use waste from dogs, cats or other omnivorous or carnivorous pets in compost. On the other hand, herbivores’ manure provides another means of increasing compost’s nutrients.

Horse: You could use cow manure, but horses beat cows in dropping nitrogen-rich muck.

Chickens: If you’re lucky enough to have backyard chickens, you know they poop everywhere. Collect the droppings and toss them into your compost to add potassium and phosphorus.

Rabbits and Rodents: If you use newspaper or wood shavings as bedding, you can empty the entire cage into the compost at cleaning time. Rabbit and rodent pellets contain nitrogen and aerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria diminish the smell of compost piles, and when compost is ready to use, aerobic bacteria help develop your soil and increase disease resistance.

4. Dead Houseplants

Actually, it isn’t just dead houseplants. Any plant matter, including weeds and lawn clippings, add small amounts of nitrogen to compost.

5. An Outdoor Garbage Disposal

A lot of kitchen food waste can bypass the landfill or garbage disposal and go straight to composting units. Non-fatty food items and plant-based food scraps add various nutrients. Do not add animal products except for eggshells, which are a great source of calcium.

If you’re unsure of the food scraps to add or avoid, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has a good listing of compostable and non-compostable food waste.

By composting, you always have on hand the nutrients for gardening and lawn care, and you needn’t spend extra money to amend your soil. Contact us at ABC Home & Commercial Services to learn more about the particular compost nutrients needed for Austin soil.

Learn More

Comments are closed.