Old 09-30-2001, 09:26 PM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 1
Deer Cecil,

Or anyone who might know. I have been told by several people that tend their own vegetable garden, and thus culture a compost pile, you are to never compost cooked veggies in said pile.

At first I was resigned to believe this though still retaining my usual skepticism until I could find out for myself. The thing about it is, that not one of these people have ever been able to explain to me why you can not compost cooked veggies, and all of these people place there coffee gounds in their piles. 'Hmmm, cooked food is it not'?

Does biological matter go under such a change that only a harmful bacteria or fungus would want to decompose/chow down on it.

There is a difference between fresh brocolli the cells of which are still somwhat alive and photosynthisizing and those of the cooked brocolli the cells of which have been broken down, the nucleic acid chains destoyed by intense and enduring heat.

I would understand why one should not place meat (cooked or not) or fecal matter in a compost pile but cooked veggies???

Wahts the beef....

Cheers -Joey Nelson-
Old 09-30-2001, 10:03 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Qld., Australia
Posts: 1,153
Nah, it's basically another UL.

Cooked vegetation is decomposed faster than raw vegetable matter, and the cooked foods we eat tend to be fairly high in easily digestible starches anyway. This can lead to an overfast decomposition and accompanying heat and acid buildup that can 'kill' a compost heap/bin. The same problem will be encountered if too much fruit, raw or cooked, is added directly to compost. However if any fruit or cooked vegetable material is placed in layers between something indigestible like lawn clippings, and a bit of lime is added to keep the pH up then there is absolutely no reason why table scraps, bread etc can't be added to compost. I do it all the time.

And of course having a healthy colony of invertebrates in your compost largely prevents this. Soldier fly maggots, cockroaches, slaters etc. all thrive on cooked food and fruit, and help control decomposition.

And welcome to the SDMB otokoyama
Old 09-30-2001, 10:10 PM
ftg ftg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 16,010
Cooked veggies are okay to compost as long as they're only veggies. No butter, oils, or other ingredients. Since most people add butter/margarine etc. to their brocolli, most just take the safe route and avoid putting them in altogether. Minute quantities of such impurities would be unlikely to cause a problem, but could still attract vermin.

Note that a large benefit of compost is the fiber content. Cooking tends to break fiber down. But it will still contribute other nutrients as well as not going into a landfill.

A pile of all cooked veggies may not be so good. Could cause anerobic breakdown (it'll stink etc.).

Note that many people (myself included) think quite highly of used coffee grounds. Certainly would qualify as a cooked vegetable (but don't tell the school lunch menu people).

And Gaspode beats me to the reply while I'm previewing....
Old 09-30-2001, 10:46 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: NJ, Exit #137
Posts: 11,886
I put cooked veggies and grains and bread and all sorts of stuff on my pile, and I have the loveliest, sweetest, compost in the world. Heck, I 've been known to put old jam and egg cartons and whole melons on my pile. As the above posters have mentioned, I don't put in veggies that are cooked with anything un-compost-able.
Old 10-01-2001, 12:01 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Sunset Zone 22
Posts: 382
I thought the thread title refered to using a compost pile to cook vegetables. Just how hot is the center of a big heap?

I have cooked (foil-wrapped) carrots on the manifold of a truck, but that's another story.
Old 10-01-2001, 12:15 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 14,089
Also ok;
Hair (human and pet).
Lint (cotton) from your dryer.
Some paper.
Sorry, no bullets.
Stop smoking. Do it!
Neither Windshield nor Bug am I.
Give us br'er rabbits.
Old 10-01-2001, 01:44 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: salt lake city
Posts: 772
Make sure that you have a good mix of green/brown. I usually shoot for 2 parts green to one part brown.

Green would include things high in nitrogen like lawn clippings, vegetables(cooked or uncooked), weeds. Coffee grounds, although brown in color, are very high in nitrogen, thus green.

Brown would include things low in nitrogen and high in carbon like sawdust, straw, shredded paper, egg cartons, dryer lint, autumn leaves.

Keep it moist and mix it every week or so. I also like to add egg shells, horse manure and bedding from horse stalls. My compost is dark brown, crumbly and sweet smelling. I use it as potting soil too.

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