Can You Compost Corn Cobs?

can you compost corn cobs
Yes, you can compost corn cobs. All parts of the corn are compostable. While corn cobs are browns, husks and silks are green materials when fresh. you can add them to your compost bin, and you'll create good compost for your garden soil. 

Can You Compost Corn Cobs and Corn Husks?

Sure you can. Corn cobs and husks are biodegradable parts of a corn plant and can be excellent compost ingredients. 

Corn cobs are carbon-rich brown materials that make good mulch for your plants and trap air needed for decomposition. 

On the other hand, corn husks are nitrogen-rich green materials when fresh, and they become brown once you dry them out. 

So, instead of throwing your corn cobs and husks into a landfill, you can compost them to make fertilizer. 

Is Corn Cob Good for Soil?

Corn cobs are excellent compost materials for your soil because they decompose slower than other common compost ingredients.

You can use them repeatedly to bulk up your compost and improve its texture until it decomposes into finished compost. 

How Long Do Corn Cobs Take To Compost?

The composting period for corn cobs depends on how dry they were before adding them to the compost bin. 

Dry and whole corn cobs take about 6 months to fully decompose when mixed in the proper ratio with green composting ingredients.

On the other hand, small pieces of wet corn cobs take about 4 months to break down into proper organic matter for your garden soil. 

Corn husks and stalks take less time to break down into organic materials than the cobs. 

Modern electric compost bins can decompose kitchen scraps within weeks and still produce quality finished compost.

Are Corn Cobs Green or Brown Material?

Corn cobs are brown material because they’re carbon-rich and good mulch for your compost pile.

Still, you must balance these brown materials with the green ones to get the correct compost ratio. 

Other corn plant parts like the husks and silks are green material only when fresh. Once dried out, they become suitable brown materials for your compost. 

How Do You Compost Corn Cobs?

These steps should help you get started:

1. Break Them Down

Cut the corn cobs into small pieces to speed up the decomposition and wet them to provide moisture to your compost. 

Smaller pieces increase air pockets inside your compost heap, providing more oxygen needed to boost the composting process. 

You can also add corn kennels with the cobs to create a better mulch for your heap. 

2. Add Cooked Corn Cobs Too

Don’t throw away cooked corn cobs into your trash can. Instead, add them to your compost bin.

These parts have a high moisture content that speeds up their breakdown into organic matter.

Drying them out extends the composting process and prolongs your finished compost.

3. Add Green Material

Corn cobs are brown materials. Use your kitchen waste like coffee grounds, peels, eggshells, and other biodegradable food waste as nitrogen-rich green material. 

Grass clippings from your yard are suitable nitrogen materials you can add to the pile. 

4. Boost Your Compost With More Brown Material

Add other types of brown material like wood chips and dry leaves because they break down faster than the corn cobs. 

They’re also carbon-rich compost materials and help balance out the ratio of carbon to nitrogen in your compost pile. 

5. Turn Your Compost

The compost pile needs a sufficient oxygen supply, so you must turn it once a week for better aeration. 

Turning also increases the surface area of rotting microorganisms throughout the compost reducing the decomposition time. 

Tips on Cutting Corn for Compost

Break the cobs with your hands the old-fashioned way, toss them into the bin, or use a knife. 

It’s best to cut them while they’re dry to protect your hand from a slipping knife on wet cobs. 

What Can You Do With Corn Stalks?

Farmers harvest the entire corn plant and drop the stalk back down. They use these stalks as fresh forage for their animals or preserve them as fodder for later use. 

You can also compost these corn stalks to produce high-quality fertilizer for your crops. 

Fresh corn stalks are green materials because they’re a rich nitrogen source for the microbes in your compost. 

Once you dry out these stalks, they become suitable brown materials for your compost bin.  

all parts of the corn are compostable
All parts of the corn are compostable

Can You Compost Sweet Corn?

Yes, you can compost every part of the corn part, including the kernels.

Corn kernels are soft, so they decompose faster than the cobs. They also break down easily and increase the surface area for the compost microbes. 

Are Corn Silks Compostable?

Corn silks are the long, thread-like material strands on the corn’s ear. 

These silks are responsible for producing corn through pollination and are easily compostable.

When you harvest corn, the stalk is usually dry, making the silks good brown material.

Can You Compost Cooked Corn Cobs?

Absolutely. Throw the cooked cobs into the pile and the uncooked ones for better-finished compost. 

Cooked cobs are softer than uncooked ones and break down faster into ready compost. 

They also carry moisture to keep the pile wet and increase the air pockets in your bin for better aeration. 

Can You Compost Corn Cobs Indoors?

Most definitely. You can use a simple compost bin to decompose corn cobs and other kitchen waste inside your house. 

Alternatively, you can purchase a modern compost bin like the Lomi bin that transforms kitchen waste into finished compost within weeks.

Your compost should have an earthy smell, so you shouldn’t worry about any foul odor unless you do something wrong. 

Why Compost Corn Plants?

Cobs are suitable compost ingredients for your compost heap as they have these benefits:

1. Aeration

Corn cobs have multiple air pockets. These spaces trap air and effectively supply sufficient oxygen to the microbes needed for rotting.

They also create large air spaces as they’re bigger than other items in your compost. 

2. Adds Bulk to Soil

A compost pile should be adequately compact to contain the heat produced during decomposition and have good aeration.

Use corn cobs to add more weight to your compost pile and create enough air spaces to supply oxygen. 

3. Carbon-Rich Ingredient

Compost microbes need carbon to produce enough energy for decomposition.

Corn cobs are rich carbon sources that balance the carbon to nitrogen ratio required for healthy compost. 


Discovering composting as a way of life or even better, as nature’s way of recycling, Ana dedicates her time to trying out new methods of composting at home. Her goal is to share everything that she’s learned in the hopes that it will help others discover the amazing rewards of composting.

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