5 Things you Should NOT Compost  


Since compost is the primary soil amendment (other than mulch since every garden should be mulched) in back yard gardens, it can be tempting to compost everything you can so that you can give the most back to your garden.  While this is true for the most part, there are things that you should not be composting and could have an adverse effect upon your garden or your health.  Here are 5 such items.



It’s a shame to waste food, especially meat which costs much more than other foods, but it’s better to feed meat that has past it’s prime to the dog than to put it in your compost pile.  It will attract flies and scavengers to your pile and could introduce harmful bacteria that can persist in your soil for long periods making it dangerous to consume your vegetables raw.


Seeds can remain in the soil for decades, usually not the seeds of any plants that you want, but the seeds of weeds most certainly can.  Even a hot compost pile will not kill the seeds of most weeds, which means that you will effectively be spreading weed seeds in amended soil when you apply compost to your garden if you add weeds to your pile.

Pet Waste

Manure for the garden should come from animals like chickens, horses, and cows, not dogs and cats.  It would take much longer for these manures to be safe.

Diseased Plants

If you remove plants, or portions of plants due to pests or disease, throw them away and do not compost them.  Placing them in your compost could result in spreading the issue throughout your garden.

Persistent Plants

Similar to composting weeds, attempting to compost extremely hardy and easily rooting plants such as sweet potato or mint will never end well.  Ultimately you will need to remove every little piece from your pile because they will not die and decompose, they will continue to root and take nutrients from your compost time rather than provide them.


Composting is about quality, not quantity.  There are plenty of resources that can be had for free, or nearly free for most people that will provide more than enough for any backyard compost pile.


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2 thoughts on “5 Things you Should NOT Compost  

  1. Thanks for the reminder of WHAT not to compost. I am a gardener with limited energy but still keep planting some tomatoes, peppers, and pole beens. How ever the garden still need to be attended to. And right now it is enough for me to keep up. Thank you gain for the reminder.
    Sandor I. Nagy, GA/USA.

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