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What is the best browns and greens compost material?   

Composting is the best way to dispose of organic waste. However, it can be hard to know what materials are compostable and which ones aren’t. Which is best, browns & greens for compost?

We all want to do our part for the environment, but sometimes we don’t really know how. The confusion surrounding composting often leads people into thinking they’re doing their job when in fact they’re not even close!

We have created an easy-to-use guide that shows you exactly what types of materials will break down easily (and quickly) in your backyard bin or worm farm. Our guide helps you create a nutrient-rich soil amendment for your garden or lawn with ease!

What is Brown Material for Compost?

What is Brown Material for Compost?

Brown material for compost includes dried leaves, straw, hay, sawdust, and wood shavings. 

For home compost piles, the best brown material is dry leaves or straw. Newspaper and cardboard are also commonly recycled materials that can be used for brown compost material.

These types of materials are considered brown because they are high in carbon. High carbon materials contain greater amounts of carbon than nitrogen, which is why adding too much brown material will cause the compost pile to become nitrogen-rich.

Brown material for compost is slow to decompose and may be used as a bulking agent in the garden or as a soil amendment. 

What is Green Material for Compost?

What is Green Material for Compost?

Green material for composting is plant-based waste that can be decomposed in a compost pile. 

Green materials can be anything that was once alive and is now dead, such as leaves and grass clippings. Garden waste, such as weeds and spent vegetable plants, are also good green compost materials. Food waste, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, can be added to the pile, but they will attract pests like raccoons, so should be layered in with other compost materials to mask the smell.

Green material is plant material that is not dry, such as leaves and grass clippings. It can also be wet or slimy, such as kitchen scraps or animal manure.

Fruit and vegetable matter (green material) makes up around 20-30 percent of the grass clippings, leaves, and other plant material that goes into a compost pile.

Make sure that any green material for compost you put into your pile is free of dairy products, meat products, diseased plants, and weed seeds. These items will not decompose in the compost pile and will make the final product smelly.

Which is the best compost material, brown or green?

What is the best compost material, brown or green?

In a study from North Carolina State University, they found that brown materials in compost can be replaced by green materials without significant loss of quality. 

However, the best method is to use both brown and green compost materials are needed to make good compost. A good mix of both is required for a successful compost pile (see Wikipedia for more information).

Why You Need a Good Browns and Greens Mix for Compost?

Without the proper balance of “green” and “browns,” your compost pile could end up smelling bad, being anaerobic (without oxygen), and unable to properly decompose. Ideally, you want your pile to have the perfect carbon to nitrogen (C: N) ratio. This means you want equal parts of “brown” and “green” material in your pile.

A good brown to the green mix might be 5 parts of “browns” with 1 part of “greens.”

The color of the final compost will vary depending on what you start with — the darker the brown the richer and darker your end product will be.

What Happens if the C: N Ratio is Wrong?

The brown-green ratio is the ratio of carbon-containing material to nitrogen-containing material in compost. High carbon materials are brown, whereas high nitrogen materials are green. 

Materials that contain a high amount of carbon include grass clippings, leaves, and straw. Materials that contain a high amount of nitrogen include food scraps, manure, and coffee grounds. 

Since high carbon materials have less nitrogen than green materials do, the brown-green ratio should be a relatively low number.

If the brown-green ratio is too high, nitrogen will be depleted and will not be available to support decomposition. The compost will not be able to mature. Materials high in nitrogen should be added throughout the composting process to keep the brown-green ratio low.

If If the brown-green ratio is too low, microorganisms will become carbon starved and the composting process will slow down. Materials high in carbon should be added throughout the composting process to keep the brown-green ratio low.

If adding green materials, adding them at the beginning of the composting process will result in more green materials than brown materials throughout the entire composting process.

If adding brown materials, adding them at the end of the composting process will result in more brown materials than green materials throughout the entire composting process.

F.A.Q

List of brown compost materials

The most common “browns” are:

Aged or cured compost

Leaves

Sawdust

Straw

Wood chips

List of green compost materials

The most common “greens” are:

Grass clippings

Weeds (before they set seed)

Kitchen waste (avoid fatty foods that will attract unwanted pests to your pile)

Manure (avoid dog and cat feces, which may contain pathogens)

Are eggshells green or brown compost?

Eggshells are brown compost. There is no reason to believe that they would change colors in the composting process, or that they would somehow become more or less green.

Are coffee grounds green or brown compost?

Coffee grounds are an interesting composting material. Most people would consider coffee grounds beige or brown in color, but they actually start out green. When they are freshly brewed, coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and are an excellent addition to any compost bin. However, over time their color changes from green to brown, and they lose nitrogen as they decompose.

In addition, coffee grounds are sometimes treated with chemicals during the processing of the coffee. If you are concerned about this, look for organic or fair trade brands of coffee.

Conclusion

All in all, it’s important to remember that the best way to get your compost pile started is by making sure you have a mix of brown and green materials. If you want more information about how to create the perfect recipe for successful composting, visit our blog post on what goes into a good compost mixture. We hope this article has been helpful!

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