I still ended up with compost. I collect the leaves using my rear-bagger lawn tractor, dump them on my lawn, then finely mulch them with my lawn mower, collect them again with my lawn tractor bagger and finally, dump them in my compost bin. Note: to Robert I was unable to look at the Facebook page you mentioned as I don’t belong to Facebook so appreciate the answers on your website. weed seeds killed by the “heat”. For example, to maintain 2:1 brown to green ration with every can of food scraps you put in a compost tumbler, you need to add two same size cans of browns. I really, really compress those leaves down, even standing on them and jumping up and down. No simple answer to that. Stinky smells are a good indicator that your compost pile is too … The Ideal Green to Brown Ration is 2:1 but it can also be 1:1 for those who are starting to compost. It is not a ratio of browns to greens. In practice, however, it’s possible to monitor and assess this as you are going along. When reading about the the proper technique for composting, temperatures, green and brown, etc. You can’t. If the moisture drops below 30 percent, then the decomposition process will be halted. Does sugar favour only a type of bacteria, the type which does not play a role in decomposition? The microbes that digest compostable materials gobble up ‘green’ nitrogen-rich ingredients and ‘brown’ carbon-rich ingredients. Water should be added only when necessary and the tumbler should be turned every other day or so to keep all ingredients, microorganisms, and moisture evenly distributed. by Kim (Maine) I lucked into an envirocycle left behind by the previous homeowner and though I’ve muddled through so far I’d love to improve my results. There are thousands of species of bacteria in compost and soil. Both of these recipes are simple to understand and simple to follow. it would get back to normal. It is a ratio of carbon to nitrogen. The recommendations usually go something like this: The ideal C:N ratio is 30 parts brown to 1 part green. My compost works, but very slowly, as it doesn’t get very hot. Good questions that will help you understand how to compost. If you like this post, please share ....... Error type: "Forbidden". The greens and browns of composting describes the two main ingredients used to make compost. I have read a lot about composting, and every source comes up with a different carbon (brown) to nitrogen (green) ratio for optimal compost. Brown materials have high carbon content. Browns can be green, greens can be brown—it’s getting confusing! Are dried green grass clippings, a brown or a green? Generally, a balanced brown-green mix is equal weight of carbon to nitrogen material. Dark color help promote the composting process too. You’re my “go-to-first” site to check. The two smells may be different. When gardeners struggle to make good compost this is usually due to an imbalance in the proportions of ‘green’ and ‘brown’ materials. Just a follow-up. However, I was left wondering: how does one identify that his compost is lacking nitrogen? blood meal would speed up decomposition by adding nitrogen. The microbes will not be as happy, and they won’t decompose the organic material as fast. You just need a little time to experiment, and the willingness to let the pile tell you what it needs. Thanks. Never. When you have a question look to mother nature – or this site:). the C:N ratio) is especially important in the winter, when we want our compost piles to work at maximum efficiency. There are two ways to build a compost … You have to understand this carefully. My First Vegetable Garden – A New Course Offered by University of Guelph Arboretum. If the C:N ratio is off and you can’t get it to balance, you can empty the tumbler and refill it with a mix of the wet pile and fresh carbon materials. Mel could also add cardboard toilet roll cores & cardboard kitchen roll cores, surprising how many of these we use in a year and they all add up. Why is this important? Very well said – ‘The reality of composting’; why some people are trying to make basic, simple processes look so complicated? I knew enough to add greens and browns + egg shells and coffee grinds but then worried about the right ph as I was ready to feed shrubs and flowers this spring–my only reason for composting actually–I won’t worry so much now. Table 1 shows the estimated C:N ratio for some common brown materials. Slight exaggeration here, as I’ve learned over the years that common sense often trumps information overload [or well intended information beyond my understanding]. Achieving the correct 2/3 brown to 1/3 green material ratio requires more thought. Thats interesting-‘The Cut & Drop’ method off composting I think its called, Robert do recommend sprinkling blood & bone over the greens when they are spread over the surface of the soil (or over the browns for that matter? Hence If I let my green material thoroughly dry out before I add it to compost pile, does it then count as brown? I leave them soaking until they are soft & subtle & have absorb the human urine (ie free nitrogen), which compensates for the lack of greens I can supply when I have an absolute abundance of browns (ie brown dry tree leaves). You do not need the right C:N ratio to make compost. 1) Begin to counter repeatedly the simplistic information about The tumbler also keeps your surroundings clean. Speedy Process & Space-saving:Just close the door, turn it 5-6 times every 2-3 days. Composting Ratio: What’s the Right Number? The first one, “The ideal C:N ratio is 30 parts brown to 1 part green”, is just wrong. In the compost pile, the recommended moisture level is 40 to 60 percent. If you don’t have browns – maybe you should stop composting. The substantial amount of brown materials promotes better airflow and nurtures the beneficial microbes that reside in the compost pile. “What’s the rush”, just seems to be ingrained in me (especial with our gutless sandy soils in WA), that one wants the plants to benefit from the nutrients in the compost as soon as possible. I have gutless low nutrient sandy soil, when planting new tree & shrubs can I dig homemade compost (mostly made from leaves & human urine) into the soil that will be in contact with the roots of the new trees & shrubs. Brown waste is incredibly important to use in your compost piles because it’s rich in carbon. A ratio of 2:1 Nitrogen to Carbon is a really good mix for a usable compost. Thanks! We had a pound of sugar that got soaked in some grey water so instead of throwing it out I threw it in the compost. I did not invent the 30:1 ratio – it is what everyone uses. The rule is not to amend the hole when planting. The proper ratio is 20 brown to 1 green. one benefit of fast composting is that high temperatures kill weed seeds yes? Decomposers that actively break down organic matter prefer a diet containing about 30 times the amount of carbon-rich material as nitrogen-rich material, or a C:N ratio of 30:1. I believe that is true, but I think few back yard compost piles get hot enough to kill seeds. There is a simple solution to this problem. More than 65 percent of the carbon in the compost pile will be transformed into carbon dioxide as a byproduct of microbial respiration. Saw dust is a strong carbon. Brown or carbon-dense materials contribute to how light and fluffy your compost’s texture becomes. Should You Compost Dog Waste or Cat Waste? Thanks Robert, I wasn’t thinking along the same lines. If you start with high nitrogen, much of it will be lost to the air during the composting process. It can also burn lawns if you use too much. I've seen anything from 3:1 nitrogen-heavy all the way to 30:1 … High K will also not produce high K compost since it is released quickly and washed out of the compost. Keep one thing in mind – mother nature does just fine in the woods with none of this knowledge or a 3 bin system. thus a false positive. Reason #2 – Used unshredded or fresh leaves As you say, Mother Nature does it well. 60 percent to 2 inches of greens, unless they bring in manure! Another cup if needed generally, a brown or carbon-dense materials contribute to how light and fluffy compost... 6 to 8 weeks more green materials offer basic materials that create enzymes single... To add some nitrogen fertilizer to the compost pile compost quickly the simplistic about... Just love your posts and I believe that is OK in carbon food scraps into. 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