Image result for planting for a fall garden in Washington state

Local Flavors are available year round throughout Western Washington.  You just need to know where to start.

If you’re new Fall & Winter planting, this list with dates will guide you all summer for an impressive Fall & Winter harvest.

Western Washington has generally cool summers and mild winters in most locations. At altitudes below 1000′ frost in the soil is rare and can usually be prevented with a light mulch on the soil surface.

This combination of weather conditions allows home gardeners to produce satisfactory crops of many vegetables for fall and winter harvest. However, since the fall and winter months are normally quite wet it’s important that gardens be well drained. The following vegetables can be planted in summer or early fall for winter and early spring harvest.

Plant Bush beans until late July to produce a good crop before frost. The plants develop more rapidly in the warm summer months than in early spring. Pole beans require more time to develop and should be planted by July 1 for a fall crop. Plant Fava or Broad beans the second week of November for June Harvest.

Beets can be planted until August 1 and produce a dependable crop. If you want beet greens, plant until September 1.

Direct seed until mid-July and transplant until mid-August. A fall broccoli crop will usually continue producing past Thanksgiving and sometimes until Christmas.

Brussels sprouts require a slightly longer growing season than broccoli. Direct seed by July 1 and/or transplant by August 1 for a dependable fall crop. In protected spots harvest can continue into mid-winter.

Ballhead cabbage for fall harvest requires the same culture as Brussels sprouts. Treat Savoy cabbage as broccoli. Fall cabbage crops will hold in the garden for prolonged periods and can be harvested in to early winter. Jersey Wakefield cabbage can be seeded from September 1-15 to winter over.

Chinese cabbage is best planted in late July for a fall crop.

A fall crop will keep in the garden until used. Plant by mid-July for wall and winter harvest.

Culture for a fall crop is the same as cabbage or Brussels sprouts.

Witloof chicory or French endive can be planted until mid-July. Roots can be dug in late fall, placed in a box of moist soil, covered with sand and forced in a warm room for winter greens.

Cornsalad, (lamb’s lettuce or fetticus), can be planted early September for fall use or late October to winter over for early spring use.

Plant either curled or broad leaf types until mid-July. In October tie leaves together to blanch hearts. A light mulch of straw will protect it from early frosts and permit harvest into winter.

Plant garlic in late October to November 10 for early summer harvest.

Plant seeds in July and transplant until mid-August.

Sow seed until mid-July for fall crop. Both white and purple varieties are suitable. Harvest when stems are 1-1/2″ to 2″ in diameter, before the stems become woody.

Plant in spring but hill or much in fall and harvest as needed all winter.

All types of lettuce are suitable fall crops. Sow head lettuce and Romaine in July. Leaf lettuce varieties can be planted until mid-August.

Mustards germinate and grow rapidly. Mustard can be seeded through September to produce fall greens. Bok Toy (Chinese mustard) should be seeded by mid-August.

Onions for green or table onion use can be seeded until mid-July for fall use. Seedlings made in August will normally winter over for spring use. Onion sets can be planted anytime during the fall and winter if the soil is well drained and workable.

Can be seeded in early July for fall and spring use.

Can be planted in early November for an early June crop. Green peas and edible pea pods (sugar peas) can be planted until mid-July. A moderate harvest can be expected in the fall.

Early varieties can be planted throughout the growing season until mid-September. Winter radishes (oriental types and Black Spanish) should be planted in July and harvested all winter.

Plant in early and mid-July for fall and winter harvest. Leave them in the garden and harvest as you need all winter.

Plant or divide both of these in late October or early November each year. Leave in the garden the year around and harvest as desired.

Plant spinach in mid-August for a fall crop. Plant in September to winter over for an early spring crop.

Chard planted by mid-July will produce a fall crop or planted in late August the plants will winter over and produce and an earlier crop the following year than spring planting.

For mature roots plant turnips by mid-August. For greens, plant through September.

In Western Washington it is normally a good practice to seed garden areas which are not occupied by fall and winter crops with a cover crop. Cover crops such as crimson clover or vetch or a combination of annual rye and vetch will benefit the garden soil by conserving nutrients, reducing weed growth and preventing erosion. A fall cover crop becomes a valuable green manure crop to plow or spade under the following spring. Till in the cover crop at least two weeks prior to planting.

Try to choose only early maturing varieties of all these crops to assure enough time for them to mature before frost slows them down or halts growth entirely.

Everything You Need to Know About Growing Oregano

Everything You Need to Know About Growing Oregano

Oregano is a must-have in a culinary garden. Its pungent, spicy, slightly bitter flavor pairs well with almost any vegetable preparation. And since it’s easy to grow, oregano is go-to for the first-time gardener.

Why Should I Grow Oregano?

Oregano is a low-maintenance herb, and it performs well both in the garden or indoors, when given the right conditions.

There are actually two main categories of oregano: Mediterranean and Mexican. The main difference is that Mediterranean oregano is a member of the mint family, and Mexican oregano is a relative of lemon verbena. The flavors are slightly different, but the means to grow them are quite similar.

Perennial or annual? Although oregano thrives in a warm climate, it is a hardy perennial that returns year after year, without much work. A couple of my oregano plants are almost 5 years old, and they have withstood all kinds of weather and still continue to produce healthy, vibrantly colored leaves. Older plants still yield delicious leaves, but their potency decreases once they reach three or four years in age.

 How to Plant Oregano

  • Where: Oregano is one of those plants that looks beautiful planted within the landscaping or along a path. It is a “garden anchor” that comes back every spring, providing height and dimension within the garden. Oregano also grows well in containers, so if you live in an apartment or have a limited growing space, it is a great option. Oregano also performs well indoors, when given enough light and warmth.
  • When: You can grow oregano by planting from seed, by dividing, or from a cutting taken from a healthy, established plant. When planting from seed, plant seeds outdoors about six weeks before the last frost. If you are planting a cutting or transplanting a seedling or small plant, make sure the ground temperature is at least 70°F.

How to Cultivate Oregano

  • Soil: Plant oregano in light, well-drained soil. Oregano actually grows better in moderately fertile soil, so no fertilization or addition of compost is necessary. I let my oregano do what it does on its own. My only complaint might be that I can’t keep up with the harvest!
  • Sun: Oregano performs well in part to full sun, but the flavors intensify when it receives a full day of sunshine. Oregano will grow well indoors, but it is important that the plant receives adequate heat and sunshine in order to grow.
  • Water: Don’t overwater oregano. Water thoroughly, only when the soil is dry to the touch.
  • Spacing: Plant oregano eight to 10 inches apart in your garden. Oregano grows up to two feet tall and spans about 18 inches across. If you are planting oregano in a container, be sure the pot is about 12 inches in diameter; oregano is a prolific grower.
  • Companion planting: Oregano is a great companion plant to almost anything, so don’t worry about planting it next to something it won’t get along with. I plant oregano alongside my tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, and rhubarb. Oregano keeps away a tomato’s archenemy, aphids, by means of predation. Aphids actually love oregano, but oregano also attracts syrphidae (flower flies), which then dine upon the small bugs. Oregano’s thick foliage also provides humidity, which supports peppers’ growth.

How to Harvest Oregano

Harvesting oregano couldn’t be simpler. You may harvest oregano once the stems are at least four inches tall. I tend to let mine grow to about eight inches tall, and then I cut back up to 2/3 of the plant. Reference the photo above and cut just above the leaves. And don’t worry if you think you’ve cut back your oregano too much — regular trimming encourages new growth and prevents “legginess.”

Tip: Want to know the easiest way to harvest oregano? If you won’t be drying your oregano by the bunch, and you only need the leaves, simply grab the stem about 2/3 down the length of the plant and run your fingers along the stem. The leaves will collect in your hand, and then all you’ll have to do afterwards is trim the now-leafless stem. Eureka!

To obtain the optimum potency of flavor, harvest oregano leaves just before the plant flowers, if you can time it perfectly. Even the subtly flavored flowers are great topped on salads. Otherwise, either clip as needed or, as I do, trim your oregano plants all at once and turn on the dehydrator.

Make your Yard Bee-Friendly

Americans consume about 285 million pounds of honey each year. Help your local bees out with simple gardening techniques!
Photo by Getty Images

According to Green Homekeeping (Mango Publishing, 2018) with the gentle guidance of eco-expert, Alice Mary Alvrez, you can start with baby steps and progress to an advanced eco-warrior! Start with these inspired ideas and the 52 simple ways to reduce your waste, eat organic, and keep toxins out of your home. Inside this helpful and hopeful guide, you’ll find tips for greening up all the areas of your life. Learn surprising facts about your impact on the environment and change your habits with do-it-yourself ideas.

Does this sound a little odd to you? Well, encouraging bees to hang around your yard may not sound reasonable, but the truth is that the declining bee population has recently become a hot-button environmental topic. No bees means no pollination, which will do some serious damage to the world (and our food supply).

Nobody is certain of what is causing the bees to die off, but the leading theory is the overuse of pesticides in commercial farming. Scientists are also looking at various other pathogens and diseases as potential causes. Regardless of the cause, bee populations are dropping drastically.

Plant Bee-Positive Flowers

The first and easiest thing you can do is to make sure your yard has a few bee-friendly types of flowers in it. The more food you can supply for our poor bee friends, the better off they’re going to be. Think about adding some of the following to your garden:

  • crabapple
  • blueberry
  • coneflower
  • asters
  • lavender
  • clover
  • bee balm
  • catnip
  • chives
  • sunflowers
  • primrose
  • borage
  • cosmos

These are all gorgeous plants and their heavy pollen supplies will make the bees happy too. A shallow dish of water with some stones in it will also make a nice water source.

Nix the Insecticides

Chemicals that kill the pests in your garden are not going to help bees, whether you are targeting them or not. Keep the toxins out of your garden to make it a healthier place to live (for bees and yourself). Use more natural options for bug control, or just accept that you have to share your garden with a few extra insect guests.


Regardless of the cause, the bee populations are dropping drastically. There are roughly half the number of commercial bee colonies in the U.S. compared to 60 years ago.

Excerpted from Green Homekeeping© 2018 by Alice Alvrez. Published by Mango Publishing.


How to Establish a Clover Lawn

Ah, the backyard lawn, that controversial patch of greenery adored by some and shunned by others. Restricted to the aristocracy before mechanical mowers made them possible for humbler folk, lawns have become the norm of boulevards and subdivisions alike. But how ‘green’ are they?

On the one hand, lawns require large amounts of water to survive. They are monoculture crops that provide minimal benefits to nature. On the other hand, lawns are ground covers that can prevent the encroachment of unwanted or invasive weeds. They also generate oxygen, provide a lush carpet for children’s barefoot play, and offer a pleasant setting for active summer living—badminton anyone?

However you feel about lawns, one thing is certain: you can make yours more sustainable by considering clover. Before chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, the humble clover plant was a common resident in backyard lawns across the country. Almost everyone’s had some clover growing in it—and some lawns were entirely made of clover. There were good reasons for this.

Not only is clover a leguminous plant, meaning that it can fix nitrogen from the air and release it slowly to the other plants in your lawn, it also stays green longer and needs less water than conventional grasses. Whether you are establishing a new lawn or maintaining an old one, there are great reasons to add clover to your mix.

Benefits of a Clover Lawn

  • Clover is affordable and easy to grow.
  • A nitrogen-fixing plant, clover brings nutrients to your soil and requires no fertilization. When mixed with other grasses, clover can reduce or eliminate the need for regular fertilizing.
  • Clover is drought tolerant and grows despite lack of water once established. This contrasts starkly with traditional lawn grasses, which usually need watering all season long.
  • Full sun or partial shade? Clover is tolerant of many conditions and outcompetes other weeds. Some of the newer micro-clovers are even more tolerant of shade and can grow in high-traffic areas.
  • Clover is versatile. Add to a regular lawn to help invigorate tired turf or plant a full clover lawn on its own for lush, year-round greenery (depending on your geographical location).
  • Wildlife such as bees and deer love clover. If you’d rather not have bees visiting, simply mow your clover before it blooms.
  • Say ‘good-bye’ to burn marks—clover will not turn yellow as quickly as a regular lawn when pets are around.

To be sure if a clover lawn is right for you, contact your local garden center to ask about the success of clover in your region. Most landscape professionals recommend a ratio of 15-20% clover seed to 80-85% drought-tolerant grass seed suitable for your area and location. Since clover is not as hardwearing as grass, a mix ensures your lawn will withstand foot traffic and won’t need regular reseeding. However, new micro-clovers developed in the last few decades offer more resilient varieties that many people are choosing to sow in much higher concentrations—up to 100%. Whatever mix you choose, the balance of clover and grasses will change over time and reach an equilibrium that works well for your soil type and local conditions.

Which Type is Best?

Dwarf white clover attracts bees and other wildlife. If desired, you can control blooming by mowing.

The two varieties most commonly used in lawns are Dutch (or dwarf) white clover (Trifolium repens) and more recently, micro-clover (Trifolium repens var. Pipolina, for example). Here’s what you need to know about these options:

Dutch white clover:

  • Usually needs reseeding after 2-3 years.
  • Stays green all year round (depending on geographical area).
  • Blooms when mature, providing food for bees.
  • Does best with 4-6 hours of sun daily.
  • Seeds at a rate of about 1lb per 1000 square feet.


  • Is fairly shade tolerant, though does best in areas with sun.
  • Can be mowed shorter than white clover.
  • Is tolerant to more foot traffic.
  • Produces about 90% fewer blooms than Dutch white clover.
  • Turns brown in winter due to dormancy period.
  • Seeds at a rate of about 1lb to 300-600 square feet.

Things to Know Before You Start

Clover does best when planted in clay or sandy loam soils with a pH between 6 and 7. To find out your soil’s pH, use a soil test kit or a pH meter. If your soil isn’t in this desirable range, you can adjust the pH using lime (to make your soil more alkaline), or peat moss (to make your soil more acidic).

The best time to plant clover is after the last frost in spring, when rains will help you establish new crop and competing grasses haven’t yet taken hold of available nutrients. Fall planting may also be a possibility if you live in an area with mild autumn weather. Temperatures should remain above 40˚F (4˚C) for the clover to take hold before winter.

As noted above, lawn specialists recommend using both clover and grass seed to establish the healthiest lawn possible. However, don’t spread these different types of seeds together. Since clover seed is so small and dense, and usually clumps together at the bottom of the spreader or seed bag, spreading with grass seed usually results in uneven coverage. Instead, determine your desired ratio of clover to grass and spread separately.

Planting Your Clover Lawn

Overseeding a Clover Lawn:

To add clover to an already established lawn, begin by mowing close to the ground and raking out any thatch that developed over the previous growing season. If your lawn needs aerating, now is the time. Your clover seed will benefit if sown after a thorough aeration. Mix your chosen clover seed with fine sand, sawdust, or soil, and broadcast over desired area. If you are seeding a large expanse, you may want to use a broadcast spreader on the smallest setting. However, keep in mind that many spreaders don’t accommodate seeds as small as clover.

Once planted, water your clover seed every day for two weeks. This will give the seeds adequate moisture for sprouting and help them get a good start in their new location. Be sure to keep deer and other clover-eating animals off the lawn.

The key to giving clover a boost over competing grasses is to cut back on nitrogen-based fertilizers. Since clover fixes its own nitrogen, it will thrive even if this nutrient is lacking (while grasses usually won’t). Phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are important, however, so choose a fertilizer with a low nitrogen component in favor of P and K.

Planting a New Clover Lawn:

If you are establishing a new lawn, prepare your soil several weeks in advance by removing weeds, stones, and other debris. Rake or till the top layer of soil to loosen the substrate and then water the area to encourage any remaining weeds to sprout. A day or two before planting your lawn, remove any newly sprouted weeds and rake to a smooth, even texture.

Mix your clover seed with sand, sawdust, or fine soil to make spreading easier. Use a broadcast spreader (if you can find one that accommodates clover) for large areas to ensure even distribution. Do not fertilize. Follow with grass seed if using.

Rake the planted area to lightly cover the seeds. They won’t sprout if buried too deeply. Compress with a roller or by walking over the area. Water regularly until established.

Before trimming your lawn for the first time, wait until the clover drops its seeds, and then cut fairly close, about 2″ from the ground. This will also favor the clover over the grass, and help the clover plants establish their roots. Leave the clippings on the lawn (they are a valuable mulch). Once the clover begins to thrive, you can reduce the mowing by letting your lawn grow to 3″. You can always overseed with clover if the grass starts taking over.

Other Things To Consider

  • Never use herbicides on a clover lawn. Your clover won’t survive!
  • A new clover lawn won’t usually flower until after its first year. After this time, mow once weekly to control bloom coverage (if desired).
  • If you don’t already have clover growing somewhere in your area, you may need to inoculate the soil to prepare it for the clover seed. You can buy inoculant from your local garden center. Mix into your prepared soil or broadcast with your clover seed at planting time. Some clover seed comes encased in inoculant.

Adding clover to your existing lawn or planting a new lawn with clover in the mix will help reduce the impacts of your little patch of green. With fewer requirements and care, and more time for enjoyment, a clover lawn is a natural choice for your overall sustainability solution.

10 Easy Green Ways Anyone can Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

These ten fairly simple activities require minimal time and cost, and most will even actually save you money over time. You can also rest a little better at night knowing you’re helping to make a positive impact with your daily routine. Take a few minutes this Earth Day to assess your household, and see where your family can make the biggest difference with easy green changes.


10 Easy Green Ways Anyone Can Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day comes every April, and with it our annual reminder to be a little kinder to our planet.

Us humans generate a lot of waste and many of the things we use contribute pollution to the air, water and earth. From daily driving to grocery shopping to furnishing a home, modern living isn’t always great for our environment.

While going green can seem like a big task and the idea of global warming seems abstract or too complex to affect, there is some good news: a few small changes in your daily routine really can make a big difference in your personal footprint.

Turn the Faucet Off When Not in Use

Clean water is rapidly becoming a scarce resource, and in modern households, it’s estimated that 95% of everything that comes out of the faucet is wasted!

The average American individual uses 176 gallons of water a day, while the average African family uses just 5 gallons. If you leave the faucet running while you brush your teeth, you’ve wasted the equivalent of entire family’s daily water use in mere minutes, just to put things in perspective. Running water while doing other things around the kitchen or procrastinating before and during your shower also wastes gallons of precious h2o.

This isn’t a long-term issue either: within the next 10 years, the United Nations predicts billions of people will face water shortages due to growing demand and pollution. So, when you’re not actively washing up or getting water from the faucet, simply turn it off and conserve.

Go Vegetarian Once a Week

Livestock animals put out quite a bit of gasses, factory farms can be polluting, and the transportation required to process them and then get them to local stores makes meat a fairly large burden to the planet.

Meat is also resource intensive: one pound of beef takes 1,800 gallons of water to create versus 500 gallons for a pound of chickpea beans or 300 gallons for a pound of tofu.

While most people don’t find going fully vegetarian practical, swapping out meat for plant-based proteins like chickpeas, lentils, or soy for even one dinner a week can have a big impact over time.
Plant-based proteins come with a lot of healthy vitamins, minerals and fiber, as well as being easier on your cholesterol, blood pressure, and waistline. There are plenty of tasty ways to prepare them, too.

Swap Plastic Bottles for Glass or Metal

Disposable plastic water bottles are undeniably convenient, but an estimated 18 to 35 billion wind up in landfills each year, and plenty more end up littering oceans and the outdoors. Plastic accounts for 16% of all landfill trash, where it’ll stay for up to 1000 years before decomposing — that’s a lot of time for one quick drink.

Choosing reusable, washable bottles from glass or metal keeps your water free of plastic-leached chemicals, cuts your waste disposal, and saves you money. If you do prefer plastic, at least buy reusable bottles made from recycled materials to keep things more planet-friendly. Using a tap water filter is also a smart move over plastic-packaged water.

Choose Reusable Coffee & Tea Cups

coffee cup and saucer
Reusing your own coffee cup is a great earth-friendly move.

In the same reusable vein, bringing your own reusable coffee cup or thermos to the office or local cafe is another earth-friendly move. Most commercial cups are composed of paper and plastic or styrofoam, with the plastic and foam being especially bad for landfills.

Opt for a reusable metal, glass or recycled plastic cup instead. At the office, you’ll create less waste (an office-wide ban on disposables would also save money), and many coffee shops will knock a few cents off for using your own vessel.

Wash Some Laundry on Cold

Laundry machines use a lot of energy, the majority of which is consumed for heating. For your regular clothes and loads that aren’t all that dirty, washing on cool and only doing full loads saves energy needed to heat gallons of water. Use hot washing only for things like sheets and towels that really need to be sanitized.

Bonus: cool washing also reduces wear on your clothing, helping your outfits last longer. The reduction in energy costs saves money on your bills, and drying on low or air drying when you can further cuts your energy impact.

Take Care of Your Purchases & Choose Furnishings Wisely

Buying inexpensive items is attractive for saving your hard-earned dollars, but often times, low-quality materials wear out quick and need to be replaced much sooner — that means more trash and more spending.

Choosing quality furniture and appliances designed to last helps reduce your overall household waste, as can repairing items rather than tossing them when they break. Low-VOC paints, foams, and wood finishes mean less air pollution during manufacturing, and cleaner air inside your home as well.

When it comes to household furnishings, foams found in cushions, carpeting and mattresses can be some of the biggest offenders. Look for options that incorporate plant based materials in lieu of unsustainable petroleum and for companies that practice eco-friendly manufacturing processes.

Walk or Bike for Short Trips

man riding a bike
Riding your bike for short trips can save a lot of carbon emissions.

Driving is a treasured American pastime, but our love of cars contributes quite a bit of pollution, especially in densely populated cities. You don’t need to give up your vehicle all together to make a difference though.

Taking a brief walk or biking for trips to the corner store, to see a close-by friend, or for your workday lunch break rather than firing up your engine can save a lot of carbon emissions. Plus, you also get the perks of exercise and Vitamin D during the daytime jaunts.

Recycle The Basics

Recycling the basics can cut your household waste down dramatically, reducing what winds up landfills (where it will stay for many years after you toss it out). It also cuts consumption of new materials and the pollution produced manufacturing them.

  • Glass: never decomposes. It’s taking up space in landfills for at least one million years.
  • Plastic: takes 500 to 1000 years to compose. It’ll still be there leaching chemicals 15 to 30 generations after you throw it out.
  • Aluminum: takes 80 to 200 years to decompose. Twenty recycled cans can be made with the energy needed produce one new aluminum can.
  • Paper: decomposes quickly, but costs valuable, slow-growing trees to make.

Many local municipalities now combine recycling pickup with regular waste pickup, and several recycling programs don’t even require you to sort your recyclables. All you need to do is a have a separate bin for glass, plastic, paper and cans and they’ll take care of the rest. If your city hasn’t jumped on the green wagon yet, you can likely still find a local recycling facility that does occasional pick ups or accepts drop offs for free. Check Earth911 for local resources.

Be Easy on Your Thermostat

Air conditioning and heating make life more comfortable, but they also use a lot of energy. According to the EPA, making a couple small changes in the winter and summer can have a big impact on your footprint and reduce your bills by an estimated $70 per year:

  • In Winter: Turn your thermostat down 8 degrees during the day when no one’s home.
  • In Summer: Turn your thermostat up by 4 degrees during the day when no one’s home.

You can also be more eco-friendly by making sure windows, fireplaces and doors aren’t drafty, using your fireplace in the winter, and using ceiling fans or a dehumidifier in summer for cooler-feeling air. Smart thermostats that can be set on a schedule or optimized in other ways for efficiency make the job of going green even easier.

Also, things like wearing warmer clothing and using thicker blankets at night can reduce your need for central heating during colder months. In warmer months, use lighter, breathable cotton bedding, a fan, or open windows to cool down with less AC.

Minimize Paper Mail

Take Earth Day to check and make sure you’re signed up for electronic billing on all of your accounts. You can always print your statements if you end up needing physical copies, and some companies will even give small credits for paperless billing.

Sign up on the Do Not Mail list and opt out of prescreened credit offers to cut back even more. It’s estimated that we all receive 40 pounds of junk mail annually, at the expense of 100 million air-cleaning trees. Choose not to receive a physical phonebook if possible as well, since all of that data is readily accessible online. allows you to opt out of all phonebooks or choose which ones you receive.



The Greens & Browns of your Compost

The Greens and Browns of Your Compost

Knowing how various browns and greens behave in your compost can make all the difference in your garden.

Get to know how different browns and greens behave in your system and curate compost ingredients to optimize moisture levels, troubleshoot problems, and af­fect the rate of decomposition.

Knowing the quirks of individual items is particularly helpful if your com­post system has limited space or is in proximity of wary or sensitive neighbors.

Easy Items That Break Down Quickly


• Grass clippings
• Salad greens
• Banana + peels
• Coffee grounds and filters
• Tea bags, with staples removed
• Apple cores
• Strawberry tops
• Peeled fruit (except citrus) and vegetable skins (carrot, apple, potato, etc.)


• Dry autumn leaves
• Non-waxy paper, including newspaper
• Non-waxy cardboard boxes
• Cardboard egg cartons and beverage trays
• Paper towel, toilet paper, and wrapping paper rolls
• Sawdust from untreated wood
• Coffee chaff
• Non-oily bread, pasta, and grain
• Dried flowers

Very Wet Greens:

• Watermelon + rinds
• Cantaloupe + rinds
• Honeydew + rinds
• Celery
• Tomatoes
• Cucumbers
• Plums

Items That Are Slow to Decompose


• Big pits (peach, plum, avocado, etc.)
• Avocado skin
• Carrots (whole or chunked)
• Corncobs


• Sticks, twigs, and logs
• Pine needles and cones
• Wooden chopsticks and stirrers

Greens with Natural Odor

• Garlic
• Onion
• Cabbage

Tricky Greens That Require Special Handling

• Manure
• Citrus rinds (a no-no in vermicomposting)
• Meat
• Bones
• Dairy
• Cooked food
• Oily food
• Weeds

Never Evers

• Diseased plants and flowers
• Poisonous plants such as poison ivy
• Materials exposed to toxic chemicals
• Cat manure and litter