While ginger has had a lot of attention for its amazing healing properties, the question of whether or not it is safe to compost, is still a bit hazy. Ginger has long been used as an antioxidant rich root to treat nausea, indigestion, and inflammation. It is one of nature’s potent healers, but what do you do with the peels, scraps and spent and rotten roots?
You could toss it into the trash, not the most environmentally friendly solution. Let's do one better, why not compost it.
How much can you compost? Where? How long does it take to decompose? Is it safe to use in a worm bin? We get it, nobody wants to compromise their compost, plants or the little critters that visit your soil, so we are here to answer all of your questions!
Can you Compost Ginger?
Yes you can! You can compost almost any plant matter, even ginger, in almost any form… fresh, cooked, chopped, blended, rotten and anything in between.
Can you Compost Ginger Root?
Yes, ginger root can be composted. While it is somewhat woody and quite aromatic, it can be safely composted in small amounts in a home composting system.
Can you Compost Ginger Peels?
Yes, you can compost ginger peels. This is similar to composting the root, but it should break down a lot quicker than the whole root. However, the peels still have the same pungent trait of the root and should only be added in small amounts to some of the smaller systems.
The peels can be ground up and added to a small space composter, vermicomposter (aka a worm bin) or Bokashi compost bin. Once ground up, it will decompose faster than the whole root. As for a worm bin, it is best to do a little trial run and see if your worms are ok with it. If not, definitely avoid adding it in the future.
Issues With Composting Ginger
What does being woody have to do with composting? Well, the tougher or ‘woodier’ the organic matter is, the longer it will take to decompose. Have you ever noticed how fast leaves decay but branches take forever? Yes, it has a lot to do with whether or not it is woody or more leafy!
What effect does the smell of ginger have on compost? This is another intriguing question. Worms and other beneficial soil visitors do not always enjoy fragrant additions like ginger, garlic and onions, thus being a deterrent to our friends beneath the surface. Pungent additions can actually be a great defense against pests, but we never want to keep our helpful friends at bay.
How Much Ginger Is Too Much To Compost?
If you have a large quantity, it would be wise to add it to a big open cold composting bin outdoors or to a closed hot composter, like a tumbler. It will have time to fully decompose in a large bin, and heat to speed it up and neutralize it in a tumbler.
If you are using a small space composter like Subpod Mini, vermicomposter (aka a worm bin) or Bokashi compost bin, you may want to totally skip adding it. It will slow down the process and not fully decompose at the rate of your other kitchen scraps, not worth compromising your compost.
Can you Compost Rotten Ginger?
This is a tricky one! Yes, you definitely can, but the smell can get quite offensive. So, adding it to an outdoor composting system may never be an issue, but avoiding any small or indoor systems would be super smart.
While rotting ginger has been already introduced to microbes, who are working on breaking down the root, it is totally ok to add it to your system as long as it isn’t creating unwanted odors. Nobody wants a stinky compost system living in their home!
The second issue is that rotting plant matter can attract slugs, snails, fruit flies, and other not so fun critters. So, if you are adding already rotten ginger to an indoor, or small system, you may be adding more unwanted visitors to your home.
How To Compost Rotten Ginger?
If you add rotten ginger to your open system outdoors, you can tuck it inside the pile, making it hard to get to, especially for slugs and snails, who you do not want to attract to your garden. As for a hot system, like a tumbler, simply toss it in with your other scrapes and plant matter. It will be all good inside there!
Can you add minced Ginger to compost?
The answer is yes and no, once again! All depends on what system you are using. Outdoors? Yes, and for how much, the same goes as for whole root ginger in the composter. Indoors? Yes, but only in tiny amounts. The woody nature of ginger definitely slows down the decomposition rate. In a worm bin? Yes and no! Do a trial run and see how your worms react. It truly isn’t worth aggravating them, and deterring them from doing their job!
How to Compost Ginger
While composting ginger can be a hazy topic, it can be done successfully with a bit of know-how and one super simple step!
- Blend it up in the blender with enough water to make a liquid, not a slurry. Yes, this will totally break up that woody structure and make it easier for it to break down. Plus, you can add it in small amounts to an indoor compost system, pour the whole thing into your outdoor system, or if needed, save it and slowly add it to your vermicomposting system, if your worms tolerate it.
- Don’t have a blender? Then get ready to chop, chop, chop! The smaller the ginger is, the easier it is to break down, and the more control you have of how much can be added to your composting system. You want to mince it up as much as you can. This is one way to see just how woody this amazing plant is. This is why it takes so long to decompose. By chopping it up, you are taking a bit of the workload off of the beneficial microorganisms and heat that would normally be doing the work.
How long does it take for Ginger to decompose in a Compost pile?
This all depends on a few factors… what form was your ginger in, what kind of system are you using, what temperature is it at, what ratio of brown to green matter is in your system, how often do you turn your compost, and where is it, indoors or outdoors?
Typically, compost can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 1 year to be ready to use. If you use your compost system correctly, add well chopped kitchen scraps and plant matter, and tend to it regularly, you can speed up your composter's natural rate by giving it a little hand.
How To Know When Your Ginger Is Composted
If it is wet, sticky, soupy, stinky and hot, your compost needs more time. If you still see remnants of some plants, it is ok to remove them, but as a whole, your compost should look nothing like what it did when you started.
If you added a whole ginger root to the pile, you may find it looking shriveled up and kind of whole, a good sign that you should’ve chopped it up. No worries, just remove it and carry on. Great opportunity to learn something new!
How to use Ginger Compost
Once your compost is ready to use, there should be zero signs of any of the original plants and scrapes that went into making this nutrient dense goodness. Fully composted matter should have a sweet earthy smell, and be dark and crumbly to the touch.
Finished compost can be added to almost any plant. Incorporating it into your garden before the planting season is always a good idea and it is a great way to grow an amazing organic garden. You can also add a handful of compost into planting holes, top off plants with a handful, mix it into potting soil for your houseplants, and even make a compost tea! As long as it is fully finished, it is super safe to use in almost any application!
Have you grown your own Ginger?
Yes, it is totally possible, indoors and outdoors, depending where you live. Check out our post on growing indoor ginger.
It is definitely easier than you may think!
Well, there you have it, ginger can be composted if done with a bit of composting know how and time. If you are a fresh ginger lover, and a home composting fan, there is no better way to do your part, than to make sure that kitchen scraps stay out of our landfills. We love finding ways to make good things happen, and composting is one of them!
Ginger isn't the only kitchen scrap that has had a bad rap in the composting world. Check out our post on 11 Things That You Didn't Know You Could Compost.