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How to Compost Corn Cobs

By Cat McCabe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Corn cobs, husks and silk make good compost.

Composting is an excellent way to reduce the use of plastic garbage bags, enrich the soil of your garden with organic fertilizer and save space in ever-shrinking landfills. Vegetable food scraps, eggshells, almost anything but meat and dairy scraps can be mixed into a backyard compost pile, and corn cobs are no exception. In fact, they are a good "heat generator" that speeds the decay of other types of vegetable matter. Compost corn cobs in small pieces to further accelerate the process.

Chop up corn cobs into 2-inch lengths with a sharp knife. Use a food processor on a chop setting if you have one.

Mix the corn cob pieces in with other vegetable waste, such as corn husks and silk, potato and carrot peelings and wilted lettuce.

Place the mix in the compost pile. If you need to make one, puncture an old garbage can and lid with holes for ventilation. Add a few shovels of topsoil that contains earthworms, some leaf litter, grass clippings and plenty of moisture. MIx the cobs and food scraps into the soil with a shovel or spade until they are well buried.

Water the compost pile only if it's dry enough that worms and bugs start to die. Moisture from decay and rainfall should be sufficient. Turn the pile every two weeks with a shovel or spade and continue mixing in new food waste as you produce it. Corn cobs will release silica and potash as they decompose, both essential nutrients for good soil.


Things You Will Need

  • Sharp knife or food processor
  • Cutting board
  • Gloves
  • Spade or shovel


  • The smaller the chopped corn cobs are, the quicker they will decompose because the surface area for microbes to attack will be much greater by volume.


  • Never compost greasy food scraps like meat or cheese. They will stink and draw animals like raccons, rats and feral dogs and cats.