Generally, most people avoid composting moldy bread, fruits, and vegetables. This is because they have the potential to attract rodents to your pile. While this is true, some guidelines can be followed to avoid a pest infestation. If you are in the habit of throwing moldy things away, you may want to read through this post.
Actually, yes, you can compost moldy things. Generally, moldy foods are not harmful to the plant; however, certain foods may not qualify as excellent compost material. They include moldy cheese, moldy pasta, etc. If they are not disposed of properly, they will attract rodents to your compost pile. What’s worse? Adding certain vegetables like moldy lettuce may increase the threat of bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, all of which possess the incredible ability to survive harsh conditions.
You must know the cause of that mold on your bread or fruit before you add it to your compost pile.
Can moldy bread be composted?
Yes, moldy bread can be composted. Bread is a great source of nitrogen and will enrich your compost pile. It is organic matter and will, therefore, break down quickly. Once moldy bread is exposed to moisture, it will decompose faster, especially if it’s already in small pieces. Adding moldy bread will not affect anything in your pile. The mold fungus that’s generated from the molding process is an excellent source of food to the worms in your compost. Worms find it easy to eat and digest the material because it is soft.
Additionally, moldy bread will not slow down the decomposition process; neither will it imbalance the mix of your compost pile. If you have moldy bread that’s getting thrown away, then it’s time to start adding them to your compost bin
Can I put moldy food in my compost bin?
Yes, you can put moldy food in your compost bin. When a portion of food becomes moldy, then it is on its way to decomposing. Taking into consideration that composting as a process requires the decomposition, or break down of organic materials, adding moldy food to your compost pile is excellent.
However, you must know that not all moldy food qualifies as compost material. Moldy cheese meat, mixed cooked foods, dairy products, bone, sweet goods, salads with dressing, mixed cooked meals that are greasy or spicy, are examples of ingredients that cannot be added to your compost bin. This is not to say that dairy products can’t be composted.
Dairy products can be composted successfully in industrial composting operations. The temperature is high enough to kill the bacteria. Home composting bins may not attain the needed heat to kill the bacteria that can be harmful to humans.
On the other hand, moldy vegetable peel, rotting fruit, moldy bread, old coffee grounds, past-their-prime vegetables are great compost materials and should be added to your compost pile.
Before you add moldy food, be sure you find out if such food will make excellent compost material.
How do I add moldy food to my pile?
Adding moldy food or fruit to a compost bin or pile isn’t rocket science, but while it’s definitely easy, there are processes to follow. These processes will speed up the decomposition process while helping to avoid pests and bad smells. Enough ado, let’s get to the root of the matter. How do you add moldy food to your pile?
Collect food scraps
The first step is to collect moldy food scraps. Gather moldy bread, coffee grounds, moldy fruit and vegetables, old rice, rotten pasta, and tea bags in a plastic bin or container than can be placed under the sink until it’s full.
Blend the moldy food
Once the container is full, use a blender or a food processor to pulverize the moldy food scrap into a mush. While this step isn’t mandatory, it has several benefits. For one, blending the scraps will ensure that worms and ants digest the food faster. In addition, blending that moldy food will give it less time to grow more mold, thereby keeping away unwanted pests and animals.
Coffee grounds and crushed eggshells can also be added into the mix.
Add the compost mix to the center of your pile
Moldy food shouldn’t be added to the pile just anywhere. It is recommended that it is added to the center of your pile. This is because the center of the pile heats up more quickly and retains heat longer than the outer edges. The temperature at the center of the bin will speed up the decomposition process.
Alternatively, you can add them on top of brown materials like dried leaves, hay, straw, grass clippings, sawdust, wood ash, etc.
Cover with brown materials
As soon as the moldy food is added to the center of the pile, the next step is to cover immediately with brown materials like yard trimmings, shredded paper, leaves, cornstalks, etc.
Add garden soil or aged manure
Adding garden soil or aged manure to the top of the moldy food will help to speed up the decomposition process.
Continue to layer your pile
Each time you add new moldy scraps to your pile, ensure that you cover it with brown materials. Also, your pile should have a balance of green and brown materials.
Turn your pile to ensure aeration
To speed up decomposition and keep your pile from smelling bad, ensure your compost pile is turned. Also, turn your pile each time you add moldy food to it.
Will moldy bread in compost attract rats?
Yes, moldy bread in compost will attract rats and other kinds of animals if it doesn’t rot quickly. However, this can be avoided if the bread is correctly disposed of.
To dispose of moldy bread without attracting rodents, put it at the center of your pile, then splash some water over it. Your pile will rot down quickly, saving nothing for mice or rats. Except you have mice that have taken up residence in your compost pile previously, moistening the bread will ensure that rodents do not realize there is any bread there.
Can I put rotten vegetables and fruits in compost?
Generally, rotten fruits and vegetables can be composted; however, the cause of rot will determine whether or not they should be added to your pile. Moldy potatoes, moldy bread, and a bag of slimy lettuce can be classified as rotting. However, each has different causes for its rot. Changes in chemicals, microbiological activity, changes in enzymes, and macro biological activity are all reasons why a plant or fruit will rot. While most of these reasons are beneficial to the compost, some will spread disease or encourage pests.
Moldy apples or tomatoes can be added to your compost pile. It is safe and harmless. Spoiled lettuce, on the other hand, should not be added to your compost pile. While it will decompose, the risks involved are too high. There’s the threat of bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, all of which possess the incredible ability to survive harsh conditions.
Also, if you process and can your vegetables and fruits, you need to check for botulism before you throw the spoiled content into the compost bin. Like the bacteria listed above, botulism can also survive the decomposition process and grow in anaerobic conditions inside your pile.
How do I compost rotting vegetables?
To compost rotting vegetables, collect vegetable refuse (like corn husks, winter squash shells, tough cabbage, potato peels, kale leaves, inedible seeds and stems of vegetables, carrot peels, corn cobs, and husks) in a small bucket.
Next, shred or chop large pieces of this vegetable refuse before adding them to your compost pile. Soft leftovers can be blended in a food processor, while corn husks or cobs can be chopped using a sturdy knife.
Combine this vegetable refuse with other materials that are rich in nitrogen. Cover the waste with brown materials like sawdust, hay, or shredded leaves. Water the pile until it is damp. Ensure it is turned as frequently as possible to create the needed aeration for the decomposition process to occur.
Is mold in my compost pile harmful?
No, mold in your compost pile isn’t harmful. Mold is part of the composting process, and it is naturally going to occur in your heap. Mold helps breakdown ingredients in your pile, especially woody substances that may be hard to decompose.
As long as your pile is turned pile isn’t wet, and you are mixing it up properly, then all is fine.
10 thing you didn’t know about mold
When we think about mold, the first thing we reach out for is our cleaning supplies. All we see is a fungus that we can’t wait to get rid of. But beyond this, there are fascinating facts about mold that you haven’t heard before.
- Mold needs moisture to live. Yes, you heard that right. To discourage it from growing, ensure your home interior humidity is between 35-40 percent.
- Mold has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- There are more than 100,000 individual species of mold.
- Almost all sinus infections are caused by mold.
- Mold has been linked to asthma. In fact, of the 21,000,000 million asthma sufferers, 4,100,000 million of them have been exposed to mold.
- Mold cannot grow on glass, rocks, or concrete.
- Mold has been linked to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
- Vitamin D supplements can help fight mold allergies.
- Mold has been linked to cancer.
- There is a link between mold and miscarriage.