This is what is referred to as a "cold" compost pile. As you can see I throw everything in the pile, except cooked food: including but not limited to leaves, coffee grounds,dryer lint, egg shells, vegetable scraps, worn out potting soil, etc. I use daylilies to hide it from view.
All those things are an excellent idea. The eggshells should be in powder form, as worms use their nutrients for producing babies and can't take in any pieces of them much larger than a grain of sand. My eggshells I leave them out in the sun to dry, then put them in a plastic bag and crush them with a marble roller until they're powder.
Make sure you spread the Coffee grounds around, as putting them in they can often form into a waterproof clump and do nothing afterward. Newspaper is excellent, so is cardboard that's brown.
I'm a lazy composter ... I suppose it depends upon if you are trying to grow worms or if you have slugs or the potential for them. I try to remember to stomp my egg shells after they are dry and brittle, the sharp edges pierce the mucus lining of slugs causing them to dry out and die. I can rake back the edge of the pile with my hand and get enough worms to go fishing so the worms are thriving without additional assistance.
What is shown above is my little kitchen compost pile, it just off the back porch so I can go out the back door and toss, this encourages me to toss versus throwing it into the trash.
Because we have horrible white clay soil we pick a place where we want the next raised flower bed, build the frame and toss in "stuff", everything you can imagine except for human waste and things which have oil in them (i.e. leftover cooked veggies) add a little lime, a layer of dead leaves or whatever we have on hand, cover with a layer of packaged top soil, just enough so it won't draw flies ... and the worms will come "a-runnin" making the pile their home and in the process aerating the packed clay soil beneath. We work on a bed for a few months, depending upon how much material is available, then let it decompose over winter.
I've found cardboard takes a long time to breakdown in a cold compost pile which is earthworm friendly versus a hot compost pile which is not earthworm friendly but will kill weed seeds, such as those in cow or horse manure. We do not use either of these since we use the lazy compost/cold method.
Although cardboard does attract slugs, so wetting it and laying it about for a couple of days results in a collection of slugs, if you have them in your yard. We didn't until I purchased several pots of cannas from one of the big box stores.
Do not use Sevin Dust on your compost pile, because it will kill the worms which are helping to breakdown the "stuff".
There are so many different ways to compost or return to Mother Earth that which we have taken. It depends upon what you have available and what your other objectives are. There is a Soil & Composting Forum here at DG which has wonderful information http://davesgarden.com/forums/f/soil/all/
I am Happy, Happy, Happy, to hear people talking about making their own compost, it sure makes a change from chemical plant feeds and weed killer, they do a quick fix and then after a couple of years end up with a build up of chemicals in the soil or runoff the ground with the rain, prob into drains etc, as said before you can throw anything into the compost so long as it aint man made, I shread my newspaper and cardboard and try add some grass mowings on top, this seems to help break it down better, also tea leaves, NO weeds that have seedheads on them, do you guy's have nettles your way, (they sting when they touch your skin) these are a good source to compost, you can even make your own plant feed with them, (put them in a large bucket, NO ROOTS, fill this with water and let it all ferment till it is really like soup, then scoop the liquid out and dilute to maybe 3 parts soup to 10 water, and water it onto your plants, if you dont like useing cow manure because of seeds, do the same as the nettles but tie the cow pat into an old cloth, tie to side of bucket and let it dangle into the water about 6 weeks and make the mix up like the colour of a cup tea, does the same job and great as a fertiliser, and you dont have the prob's with seeds germinating from it. happy composting. WeeNel.
I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to butt in here. I want to compost, I try to compost, but we are so wet here that it just turns all smelly and gets lots of bug larvae on it. I have tried in a big bin outside - but again...it sweats and everything get wet and...any suggestions for me?
I'm so sorry but your situation is out of my league. Perhaps someone will come along who knows more. "I know just enough to get us both in trouble", or in this case maybe trouble is smelly mess. lol lol (my little attempt at humor)
Islandshari, you'd need to build one in a sheltered location (so no water can get at it) but still allow air flow. I had to make a roof for mine, the past few years we've had much higher than normal rain and my compost was getting flooded but, then again when we have higher than normal rain I'm sure it's not even close to how much you get.
Islandshari--you should check out the Soil & Composting forum, I bet you there are people over there who can give you some really good advice on how to make your situation work for compost. http://davesgarden.com/forums/f/soil/all/
Hi islandshari, making your own comost is a great cheep way to add goodness to your garden soil, If you are experiencing too wet compost, especially with grass cuttings added all at once etc, then they turn smelly/mushy, so you would be better to add them, then some hedge/shrub clippings shreaded newspaper,as this will allow air to circulate within the heap, it will still stay hot as they say, but prevent the grass from rotting into a big pile, also with grass, you need to add other things in between the layers for the same reasons, but the grass will help spead up the rotting of the rougher stuff, you can also lay the grass clippings straight onto/around your plants and shrubs (not too close to the stems, to let it rot into your soil (if there are no grass seeds in it) you can dig it directly into the soil, you can add anything to the compost heap so long as it aint MAN MADE, add like cardboard, newpaper, tea/coffee,grounds/leaves, all veg, UNCOOKED, pure woolens cut and shredded,, just No meat, if you feel your heap,box etc is getting too wet, then add some compost each layer, as in old flower pot compost, and this will help keep it a bit drier, the very best thing to add is, seaweed if you are close enough to the sea, or buy some dried stuff, it is the best thing for root growth and is a stimulant to any plants that need a boost. Crushed eggshells add calcium, so once you know what you can add, there is less that you cant put into your heap. start again and see if it works, it is a great way to help your garden, good luck. WeeNel.
LOL !!!! WeeNel - just had to laugh at your comment "if you are close enough to the sea"...I am on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean...we are 1/2 mile wide and 3 1/2 miles long. Yup, I think that qualifies as being close to the sea! However - we don't get much in the way of seaweed or kelp. Not enough land mass for these plants to grow near here. Strange huh? But thanks for the advise!
Well Islandshari, now I'm laughing, thats not an Island, thats a mole hill Ha, Ha, Ha, to bad you have no seaweed or kelp, that would really feed your plants, it sounds an ideal place to live in where you are, but guess even that will have it's draw backs every now and then. try all the other things I mentioned for your compost heap though, it will help keep an airflow going through it and stop it turning into a smelly mush. Good Luck and Happy Gardening. WeeNel.