It’s amazing the little snippets you come across when you least expect it. I was reading through an on-line article about composting from the Telegraph and was surprised by one particular part of this section:
Compost dos and don’ts
Do add to the heap
- All grass clippings
- Cut flowers
- Kitchen waste, eg broad bean pods, outside lettuce leaves, peelings
- Weeds — not those going to seed. Not persistent perennials
- All cardboard and paper (shredded), but not very heavily inked or glossy
- Cotton clothes
Don’t add to the heap
- Cooked food — it encourages rats and flies
- Citrus — bake on a low heat in the oven and then use as fire lighters instead
- Egg shells — too slow to break down
- Coarse bark — too slow to break down
- Wood shavings — most are treated with preservatives, so best avoided
- Perennial weed roots — they will start to grow and invade the whole heap
- Plants which have gone to seed — they will just shed all their seed into the heap and germinate when you spread the compost
- Anything diseased — e.g. wood infected with honey fungus or courgettes with mildew — this will encourage fungal spread
- Man-made fabric — will not decompose
This is a pretty standard list of items for composting that you might find on any number of websites. However, when I read the part about citrus fruit, my first reaction was one of mild disbelief mostly because I thought I would have heard of this before now if it was true. How can it be possible that citrus fruit peelings are any good as fire lighters?
However, this seems to be confirmed by many other pages I found on the web, this is just one example:
Orange Peel Firelighters
The citrus oils in dried orange and tangerine peel make it an effective firelighter. If you have a Rayburn or Aga you can leave the peel in one of the ovens over night to dry. Alternatively you can put the peel in the oven after cooking. The peel will dry as your oven cools.
All I need now is the Rayburn or Aga so that I can give this a try!