Skip to content

Best Items To Compost For Healthy Soil


Many gardeners refer to compost as “black gold” for the multiple benefits it has to offer. It is an excellent material for your garden soil, given how it helps boost the health of the soil, improve its structure, and allow it to retain maximum moisture.

Compost is like a gift that keeps on giving by feeding our plants and improve our soil.

When it comes to composting, it is extremely important for us to choose the right compost for the garden soil to get the most out of the produce.

There are so many options, ingredients, and types of compost available out there, and it is very confusing to choose the right compost for your garden. Ideally, one should try to compost organic scraps and play their part in cutting back on the waste that ends up going into landfills.

Each year, tons of household items and food fills up our landfills. So, by composting these materials, we can prevent these landfills from overflowing and pave the way towards a healthy environment.

Benefits of Composting

A few of the many benefits of compost are:

    • Works as a rich natural fertilizer, thereby cutting back on the use of chemical fertilizers.
    • Greatly decreases the need for costly watering.
    • Helps reduce the amount of trash and garbage that results from each household.
    • Significantly improves soil aeration and drainage.
    • Helps control the growth of weeds.

Ideal Items to Compost for Healthy Soil

We have rounded up some of the best items to compost for healthy soil, which will help you create a usable product and also provide the right growing conditions for your soil.


This is an excellent source of nitrogen which is an essential ingredient for maintaining healthy garden soil. It could be hair that comes from pet grooming, hair pulled from hairbrushes, or even strands of hair stuck in the shower drain. As unpleasant as that might sound, hair is one of the most useful items to compost for healthy soil.


Burnt natural wood contains an abundance of potassium which, again, is great for improving the health and structure of the soil.

Nail Clippings

Human nails contain a good amount of keratin which is another very good ingredient to compost. While nail clippings are generally in a meager amount and are also tiny, they actually decompose really well.

Pine Needles

This amazing brown organic material takes a long time to decompose but does a great job at creating air circulation in the soil. One important thing to keep in mind about pine needles is that they are acidic, so you will need to ensure balance in the garden soil with the help of other additives.

Tea Bags

Tea is a staple in every household, so naturally, every household has a lot of tea bags and loose tea leaves left at the end of each day. Instead of throwing the remains in the trash, use them in your compost bin, as it will help provide additional nutritional value to the soil.


From natural wood chips, burnt matches, and toothpicks to short branches and sawdust, wood is one of the best items to compost for healthy soil. Since it’s a natural product, it decomposes into wonderful hummus and further makes the microbes in the compost much more balanced.

Coffee Grounds

As much as coffee is your ideal caffeine fix, it turns out that it’s also amazing for your garden soil! Coffee grounds help add organic material to the soil, which greatly helps improve many of the soil’s features and processes, such as aeration, drainage, and water retention.

Gelatin (powder or jelled)

Gelatin is highly rich in protein content which makes it such a wonderful additive to your garden soil. It also functions as a great fertilizer for plants and gets the maximum out of them.

Rabbit or Bird Droppings

Animal waste is generally not recommended for compost for soil, but it has an exception for bird and rabbit droppings.

Droppings from non-carnivorous pets, as well as free-roaming animals, make an excellent nutrient-rich additive for your compost.

Other Options

There are many other amazing items to compost for healthy soil that include the following:

    • Animal manure from herbivores (not meat-eaters like dogs or cats)
    • Clean paper
    • Hair and fur
    • Coffee filters
    • Cotton and wool rags
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
    • Paper towels
    • Cardboard rolls
    • cereal boxes
    • brown paper bags
    • Crushed eggshells (not eggs)
    • Fireplace ashes
    • Grass clippings
    • Shredded newspaper
    • Hay and straw
    • Seaweed (rinse off saltwater)
    • Houseplants
    • Leaves
    • Nut shells

Items You Shouldn’t Compost and Why

    • Fats, lard, grease, or oils – these have pests and odor related problems
    • Pet wastes (cat litter, dog or cat feces) – these might contain germs and parasites that are bad for the soil
    • Yard trimmings treated with pesticides – these might kill composting organisms
    • Coal or charcoal ash – they have harmful elements substances and elements that are highly destructive for plants
    • Black walnut tree twigs or leaves – these substances are harmful to plants
    • Fish, meat, poultry, or egg scraps – these have odor and pests related problems
    • Dairy products – odor problems and pests
    • Diseased or insect-ridden plants – they have the tendency to initiate the spread of diseases and insects

How to Speed up the Compost Process

Here are a few of the most effective tips for fast composting:

    • Chop the larger items into tiny pieces because this allows the bacteria to break them down faster.
    • A big heap of compost works much better than small servings. The right way to go about it is to gather all the organic waste over a period of a few days and then add it all together into a single huge pile. The ultimate benefit of this is that the more you keeping adding over time, the more your compost will heat up.
    • Make sure to keep the pile of compost out in the sun because the heat and rays from the sun will help speed up the process.

Key Takeaway

Now that you know some of the best items to compost for healthy soil try to use those particular materials for composting. Not only will they help boost soil health, but they will also help your gardening activities become more environmentally sound and responsible.