By Anne Baley
As many good gardeners know, composting is a free way to turn garbage and garden waste into a substance that feeds plants while it conditions the soil. There are a number of ingredients that can go into compost, but many people ask the question, “Can you compost hair?” Keep reading for information on composting hair for the garden.
Can You Compost Hair?
At its heart, compost is organic materials that have broken down into their most basic components. When mixed into garden soil, compost adds needed nutrients to the soil. It will help retain water in sandy soil while adding drainage to dense clay soil.
The basic formula for creating compost is to layer green or moist ingredients with brown or dry ingredients, then bury them in soil and add water. The chemicals in each type of material join together to break down everything into one brown mass filled with nutrients. Having the right proportions of greens and browns is important.
So can you compost hair? Green components include kitchen waste, freshly cut grass, pulled weeds and, yes, even hair. In fact, nearly any organic material that hasn’t dried out, and is not from the inside of an animal, is fair game for the green components. These add nitrogen to the compost and ultimately into the soil.
Types of Hair for Composting
Don’t just use the hair from your family brushes for the compost heap. Check with any local hairdressers in the area. Many of them are used to handing out bags of hair to gardeners for animal repellant, as well as composting materials.
All hair works the same way, so if you have a dog groomer in the neighborhood, offer to take the dog clippings off her hands for some extra added nitrogen in your compost heap. Cat hair can be used as well.
How to Compost Hair
Adding hair to compost is as simple as sprinkling it in among the other green ingredients when you add that layer. The hair will break down easier if you spread it out instead of dropping it in large clumps.
In order to speed up the decomposition process, it may help to place a tarp over top of the compost pile. This will help retain both heat and moisture necessary for these materials to break down. Be sure to turn the compost a few times a week to mix everything together and keep it aerated.
It normally takes about a month for composting hair to break down enough before adding it to your garden soil.