We're often asked about the Do's & Don'ts of FoodCycling. But in describing the can's and cannot's of creating homemade fertilizer, there are a few items that don't get nearly enough credit for being the absolutely should do's!
While the FoodCycler is a wonder in terms of what it can process (including meat, dairy and some bones), we wanted to use this article to tell our followers that there are some foods that can help make each cycle seamless and consistent.
1. Coffee grounds
Coffee grounds are a great addition to your garden soil. They're packed full of nitrogen, which encourages plant growth.
Coffee is also a very useful addition to your FoodCycler's cycle. Because coffee grounds are gritty and absorbent, they can be helpful in keeping your cycle free of jams by adding fibre to more viscous/liquid materials.
2. Egg shells
Egg shells offer your garden calcium and added "grit", which helps with drainage and air flow.
Egg shells are also excellent in your FoodCycler's cycle, as that grit can help release any stuck-on materials that might adhere to your bucket during the cycle!
3. Carrot, potato and sweet potato peels
Excellent additions to any traditional compost pile, potato peels are chockfull of nutrients, including magnesium and phosphorus.
In the FoodCycler, root vegetable peels help provide structure to your unit's cycle. They are moist materials, without being too moist, which is the perfect balance for the FoodCycler. Too much liquid-heavy materials, and your cycle will take longer to complete. Depending on the ratio of sugars-to-liquids, your FoodCycler might also jam, or else have caked on residue at the end of the cycle.
However, with root veggie peels (and pretty much any veggie scraps at all!), your cycle will maintain a good moisture-to-fibre ratio, and process in a clean and timely manner.
4. Tea bags
Similar to coffee grinds, tea bags are excellent sources of natural nitrogen for your garden soil. In fact, some studies say that tea is even higher in nitrogen than coffee!
Similar to coffee grinds, tea leaves absorb some moisture and provide structure to a sodden or sticky cycle. The outer paper liner of a teabag is entirely biodegradable, and will break down in the FoodCycler, so you can throw the whole bag into the bucket. Just remove any string, tags and/or staples if your bag is one of those with a string and you're ready to start cycling!