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Composting Green and Browns: From Trash to Treasure

top three tips for composting green and browns. Two images of hands full of green vegetable waste with an image of leaves being raked off a lawn,

Composting green and browns, can turn your trash to treasure by creating the perfect ratio in your compost. In this blog we will take a look at how to achieve the perfect green and browns ratio for composting. You will learn why this is an important ratio and what ingredients are great to add into a compost bin.

Composting is an excellent way to create a nutrient-rich soil for your garden while reducing waste. It is a simple and effective way to recycle food scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials into a valuable resource. However, to create high-quality compost, it is essential to understand the importance of balancing the green and brown materials in your compost pile.

From Trash to Treasure. The image shows kitchen scraps in a wooden composting bin, part of the green selection for composting

I first came across composting in the 1980’s from a TV programme called the good life. It was a comedy featuring two couples who lived next to each other. One who was trying to life a self-sufficient lifestyle and the other who lived a corporate life, and his wife was at home.

So, since my teenage years I’ve known the benefits for building and developing composting spaces in your garden. In today’s world the idea of composting is more related to enriching your soil than it is about a comedy programme.

Let’s look into composting green and browns for a balanced, thriving garden. 

Composting Green and Browns: balance is the key

Green and brown materials are the two main components of composting. Green materials, such as grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds, are high in nitrogen. Brown materials, such as dead leaves, twigs, and paper, are high in carbon. A successful composting process requires a balance of these two types of materials.

Balance is the key: It is important to have a good balance of green and brown materials in your compost bins. Green materials are high in nitrogen and brown materials are high in carbon. A ratio of 2:1 browns to greens is a good starting point. 

Did you know: Over 30 per cent of the average household bin can be composted – that’s nearly 150kg a year, which is about the weight of a baby elephant!

I didn’t know this until I came across this article ‘Get Composting’.

Balance is the key: a ratio of 2:1 browns to green is a good starting point.

What ratio do I need to be aiming for?

The ideal ratio for composting green and browns is 2:1 brown to greens. This ratio supplies the right amount of nitrogen and carbon to create a healthy, thriving compost pile. Too much green material can lead to a smelly and slimy compost pile. Yet too much brown material can slow down the composting process. Achieving the perfect balance is the key to creating high-quality compost.

Composting greens and browns. The image shows a handful of kitchen scraps that fit perfectly into the green materials.

When selecting green and brown materials for your compost pile, it is important to consider the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C: N). This ratio is the proportion of carbon to nitrogen in the material. Green materials typically have a C:N ratio of 20:1 or lower, while brown materials have a C:N ratio of 30:1 or higher.

To achieve the 2:1 brown to green ratio, aim for a C:N ratio of 25-30:1. This can be achieved by mixing equal parts of green and brown materials or by layering them in the compost pile. For example, layering two inches of brown material with one inch of green material will create the ideal balance.

It is also important to chop or shred the materials before adding them to the compost pile. Smaller pieces will decompose faster, resulting in a faster composting process. Additionally, adding water and turning the compost pile regularly will help to speed up the process. This also ensures that the materials are evenly distributed.

Composting green and browns. The image show a selection of carboard boxes that fit with the browns.

When Composting Green and Browns: What can I use?

Aside from balancing the green and brown materials in your compost pile, it is also important to select the right type of materials. Avoid adding meat, dairy, or oily foods to your compost pile, as they can attract rodents and other pests. Additionally, avoid adding materials that are treated with pesticides or herbicides, as they can harm the beneficial organisms in the compost pile.

In conclusion, composting is an excellent way to recycle organic materials and create a nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, to create high-quality compost, it is essential to understand the importance of balancing the green and brown materials in your compost pile. Aim for a 2:1 brown to green ratio, chop or shred the materials, and turn the compost pile regularly. With these tips, you can create a thriving compost pile that will help your garden for years to come.

Happy Gardening, Kristian

Composting Green and Browns: Where to Next?

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