French fries will break down in compost over time but can attract flies, ants and mice who are attracted to the fat and carbohydrates. French fries that are highly salted are not good to add to your compost in high quantities as the salt can build up in your soil. Small amounts of French fries added to a compost are fine but large amounts can cause your compost to smell.
This article will explore all you need to know about composting French fries at home if you choose to. Find out all you need to know about composting French fries.
What happens when you compost French fries
French fries contain high amounts of fat and carbohydrates. If you have bought them from a fast food store or if you have added salt on your chips at home then they can upset the salt balance in your compost and soil.
French fries attract ants
French fries can attract ants who are seeking out the carbohydrates to bring back to their nest for food. If you throw a heap of French fries on top of your compost it is likely that you will get a trail of ants climb up and find them.
Ants won’t cause any harm to your compost pile but can be a pest if your compost is near areas that you walk. Some ants bite so it is best not to have too many hanging around your compost bin if you use it often.
French fries attract rats and mice
Rats and mice will seek out high carbohydrate and high fat foods like French fries. Leaving them in your compost bin can attract these pests to your yard. A closed compost bin with a sealed lid raised off the ground are usually rat and mice proof but compost piles on the ground are easy for them to access.
French fries attract flies
French fries can also attract flies which can land on your compost pile and lay eggs which hatch into maggots. Flies themselves do not cause any harm to your compost bin but are an indicator that there is an imbalance. French fries add lots of carbs which can rot, smell and make an attractive meal for flies.
French fries add too much salt to the soil
Adding salted French fries to your compost bin will add more salt that is healthy for the soil. Adding lots of salted French fries can damage your soil over time as you continue to add it.
How to add small amounts of French fries to your compost bin
If you want to put French fries in your compost bin, here are a few tips to help them break down quickly and avoid attracting ants. French fries are often leftover in small amounts after our kids have finished their meals. Here is how to break the fries down in your compost.
1. Add a small amount of French fries to your compost
Always start with a small amount of French fries when adding them to your compost. A small handful will usually break down in 1-2 weeks. After this you can add more. Work out how quickly your compost breaks down food and only add the amount that will break down within 2 weeks.
The less time the French fries stay in your compost bin the better, that way the worms and soil bacteria can break them down before they attract flies, ants and mice.
2. Cover the French fries with old compost or brown material
After adding French fries to your compost bin, cover them with some old compost material or some extra brown material. Grab some dry fall leaves, old straw or hay or even some dry lawn clippings.
Cover the French fries so that they do not attract passing flies. The brown materials will help to absorb the extra water from the French fries.
3. Make sure the French fries have minimal salt
If you decide to add French fries to your compost bin, make sure that they do not contain too much salt. French fries from most fast food stores will be highly salted which can make its way into your soil. Excess salt is not good for plants so it is best not to compost these French fries.
French fries made at home without added salt are fine for compost so add them in, cover them with brown material and let the soil bacteria go to work.
4. Mix the French fries deeper into the compost pile
Another great way to help the French fries to break down as quick as possible is to mix them into the pole. To help any food to break down as quick as possible, mixing them through the compost pile is a great idea. This will increase the contact with compost, soil bacteria and other ingredients.
Hiding the French fries in the compost pile will keep them covered, away from fries and ants and will stop them from going moldy or smelly.
Use a garden fork to gently mix the French fries into the compost and they will break down fast.
Can you compost French fries? | Summary
You can compost small amounts of unsalted French fries and turn them into rich humus for your garden. Start with a small handful of French fries and mix them through the compost bin. This will help them to make contact with the soil bacteria which will break down the food and capture the nutrients in the finished compost.
Avoid adding too many French fries in one go so that they do not go moldy or attract pests. High carbohydrate foods like French fries can be a favorite snack of mice so mix them through and put the lid on your compost bin.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.