We have all heard about composting organic waste from our goods. Apple cores, avocado pits, coffee grounds, banana peels, and potato peelings are all examples of this kind of waste.
Other non-food waste materials such as old newspapers, brown paper bags, and cardboard boxes are also welcome in our heaps.
However, what about the more abrasive scraps? Shellfish include crab shells, eggshells, lobster shells, clamshells, and various shellfish variations. What happens to them? Of course, they may go directly into your pile! That is the beauty of composting – it is not discriminatory.
Can clamshells be composted? Of course! Clamshells are more beneficial to your compost bins than you may believe. They counteract the acidity, assisting in the normalization of the pH levels in the compost bin.
Composting Shellfish Shells Has Several Advantages
Shellfish shells may supplement your soil with significant quantities of trace minerals and even nitrogen.
Mussels, oysters, and clams have hard shells made mostly of chitin and calcium carbonate.
Calcium carbonate, which is always present in egg shells, will provide the soil with much-needed calcium, while chitin is a good organic polymer that well forms the backbone of shellfish and insects’ shells.
Because chitin contains nitrogen in its molecular structure, as it degrades, it contributes nitrogen to the soil.
However, clam shells include some protein (another source of nitrogen) and a variety of trace elements, including magnesium, manganese, iron, and boron, all of which are necessary for plant development.
Minerals in the soil are ultimately carried down streams and rivers and into a big ocean, which is quite mineral-rich. Shellfish absorb these elements into their shells as they develop, which we can subsequently compost as well as re-enrich our soil with.
Let us go over this one more time, shall we? Composting is, for the most part, very easy. Rather of tossing all of your organic waste in your trash bag, putting it out for rubbish collection, as well as calling it a day, create a pile outside your house specifically for these items.
Bear in mind that what one guy considers garbage is another man’s treasure. If you are serious about composting, ask around! It is good.
You may have neighbors who do not compost properly. This may be due to their hectic lives or simply because they are unsure how to accomplish it.
You may certainly share some of your ideas and techniques with them if they are interested. If not, you may request more compostables to add to your pile.
Composting involves the use of fruit and vegetable waste, a little number of grass clippings, water and cardboard, and paper. While this is a typical mix, various places and individuals may operate differently.
Again, it is the adaptability of composting that makes it enjoyable. You may add a variety of items to the available pile.
Everyone will likely have plenty of greens to contribute to the pile, such as lawn clippings, in grassier regions. In drier regions, grass clippings might not be the greatest choice since there is so little of it to begin with.
Individuals who eat more fruits and vegetables may have a larger pile of fruit and vegetable peels than the typical individual. Those who like freshly made coffee may have a surplus of coffee grounds to toss in.
Definitely, any coastal or tropical region will have an abundance of seafood. This is when clam shells and other seashells enter the picture.
Naturally, there are many composting techniques. It is critical to choose what you are going to accomplish and which one fits your lifestyle the best. You will be good.
Hot composting is always one of the more traditional ways of composting. This is the recommended technique since it saves much more time than other methods.
While microbial activity is adequate to break down the pile more quickly, it will almost certainly need specialized equipment and the critical component of all composting methods: patience.
Composting in a hot environment will undoubtedly rely on the size of the collection. The technique is less successful the smaller the pile.
If feasible, the pile/bin should be put directly in the sun, since shadow would likely delay the process and undermine the objective.
Keep an eye on the soil temperature and moisture content, as these factors will also play a significant influence on the efficacy of your hot composting. And Microbial activity occurs between 130 and 140°F, which is very unpleasant to the touch.
This accelerates the rate at which microorganisms degrade organic materials. This is an excellent technique for composting clamshells, but be careful to smash them first.
400;”>Of all known techniques, direct composting is perhaps the easiest. This is accomplished by digging a hole straight into the earth and depositing your leftovers there.
Although it requires much less work, it takes significantly longer to disintegrate. Additionally, you run the danger of attracting a variety of pests and rodents.
The advantage of this technique is that it occurs on the ground, which makes it simpler for worms to locate the pile and assist in the composting process. It is good.
Aerobic composting is a relatively new technique of composting that relies on air to break down waste more quickly.
This method utilizes a composting container that must be changed every few days.
Vermicomposting makes use of a variety of different components. Worms, and moisture, and oxygen are utilized in this process. However, the worms do the majority of the nasty job.
This is an excellent technique since it requires little work and smells earthy, in contrast to other procedures that may emit a strong odor.
Composting Shellfish Shells
Shells degrade extremely slowly in the soil.
Domestic chicken egg shells may take years to fully degrade, while thicker mussel or clam shells would take much longer.
By contrast, nut shells will degrade more quickly.
However, breaking or grinding your shellfish shells can expedite the breakdown process. Ground egg shells have been proven to be a very efficient soil amendment. The finer they are ground, the more rapidly they degrade in your soil.
Always rinse your shellfish shells before putting them in your blender and pestle or mortar. Rinse them well to remove any salt, sauces, or heavy oils.
Then crush or grind them to a powder.
Some people pre-bake them in an oven to ensure they are as brittle and dry as possible. If you wish to add entire shells to the compost pile, you may, but it will take years for them to decompose completely.
I have started a compost pile, but may I include my clamshells?
Yes! While shells of any kind are beneficial, clams are an excellent addition to your composting pile since they help decrease the acidity of the compost, thus balancing its natural pH levels.
You are in luck if you are a seafood lover or reside in a region where it is very prevalent.
You will want to clean and smash the shells until they resemble gravel. It is preferable to put it on top of very nitrogen-rich material and then bury it under further layers of your current pile.
How to Garden with Shellfish Shells
Shellfish shells may be used in the garden in a variety of ways, either in your plant beds or directly in your compost pile.
If you add clam shells to your compost pile, it is best to place them towards the center, where they will be less odoriferous to animals and will enable microorganisms to break them down more quickly.
Crushed mussel shells may also be composted via a process called trench composting, which entails creating a hole or trench a few inches deep in your yard and distributing the shells within before covering them with dirt. This is the ideal method of composting if you lack a compost pile since the materials will decompose directly where the plants can absorb the nutrients.
If your shells have been well cleaned and crushed into a powder, you may even immediately top treat your garden beds by dusting and stirring it into the top several inches of soil.
However, if you do this, be careful to utilize just the shells and not the flesh or fish, since the smell of meat and fish attracts bugs. If the carcass has any meat, it is preferable to bury it deeply in your compost pile or bed.
Related Questions Regarding Shellfish Composting
Are Lobster, Crab, and Shrimp Shells Also Compostable?
Lobster and crab shells, like mussel, clam, and oyster shells, may be composted. Due to their thickness, they will take years to degrade unless crushed or ground.
Shrimp shells may be utilized in the same manner, however due to their considerably thinner nature, they will degrade much more quickly.
If using shrimp shells, and boil them for twenty minutes, drain them, then toast them in your oven until dry. This will make them easier to ground into a meal for use in your garden. While shrimp shells decompose much more quickly than lobster or crab shells, I still suggest burying them in one of your compost piles or a few inches into the garden beds due to the strong odor they emit as they begin to decompose.
Is It Possible to Compost Uneaten Shellfish?
While it is acceptable to compost partly consumed or uneaten shellfish with attached flesh, there are a few restrictions.
While cleaned, crushed shellfish may be used as a top dressing or mixed into the top few inches of soil, leftover or uneaten shellfish should be composted in the same manner as meat or fish, either buried several inches under the soil surface or in a hot compost pile.
Animals such as rats, cats, and raccoons will be attracted to any kind of meat. Even if they are buried a few inches in the soil in your garden beds, and they will quickly detect the smell and begin digging them out. As mussels disintegrate, they emit a very pungent, unpleasant odor, which may attract more pests to your garden.
You may also add it to a compost pile, but be sure to stir it regularly and keep your shellfish buried in the pile to ensure the flesh decomposes quickly. Finally, the shells should be cleansed of any flesh and let decompose naturally.
As a result, fish along with uneaten shellfish, and pork, should either be buried in a very deep trench to conceal the odor from animals or placed in a heated compost pile to accelerate decomposition.
Shells may be added to any compost pile to assist maintain a compost pile’s pH balance. They will require to be perfectly broken down into smaller bits in order to prevent the composting process from being slowed.
Once decomposed, they may be easily put to compost heaps!