Ask the gardening expert



I want to start a compost pile. Are there things I should — or should not — add to it?

That is a great idea. Put all yard debris in the pile, with the exception of diseased debris.

As far as household waste, place any vegetable in the compost pile. However, do not add anything of animal origin, such as milk, cheese, eggs, meat or bones. These things will draw unwanted visitors such as raccoons and rats to your garden.

To learn the proper way to build a compost pile, I suggest you call the master composters. They are located at the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center in east Vancouver, and can be reached at 360-882-0936, ext. 224, or

Celeste Lindsay is a certified master gardener. Send questions to