What is Brown and Green Compost?

What is brown and green compost?

Brown and green compost refer to the type of material or the content of Carbon vs Nitrogen in the material. Brown originated from the fact that Brown compost material is usually brown in color because it’s dead and dried out. Green compost materials are green in color because they are fresh and moist. This is where Brown and Green compost came from.

Browns are Carbon rich materials such as dead leaves, dried grass, wood chips, straw, paper, cardboard, saw dust and newspapers. You need about 3-4 times as much Brown compost as Green.

Green compost materials are high in Nitrogen and help plants grow fast and greener. Green compost materials are kitchen scraps such as carrot and potato peels, celery, apple cores, citrus peels, broccoli, squash peels, whole fruits or berries and coffee and coffee grounds. You only need 1 part of Greens in your compost pile.

Tip…you gotta get some coffee grounds for your compost. It’ll jump start it into high gear.

Browns and Greens get more complicated when you look at the chemistry. For example dried leaves have a Carbon to Nitrogen ratio of 60:1 while shredded newspaper is 175:1 and fruit waste is 35:1. So in order to get to the perfect compost C/N ratio of 25-30:1 you have to average these ratios out according to how much of each material you use. This is way too complicated for me.

The ratio of Browns to Greens is not an exact science. You have to experiment with it. Try doing the 4:1 ratio and see how it goes. If the compost is very slow decomposing, then add more Green. If the compost pile smells, then add more Brown.

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Is Coffee Good for Watering Plants?

Is coffee good for watering plants?


…but dilute it first with 3 parts water. You want it to look like weak black tea. Coffee and coffee grounds contain nitrogen which makes plants grow, stay green and healthy. It also contains Calcium and Magnesium. Theses 2 minerals are very beneficial to plants. Coffee is very similar to compost tea in that its rich in nutrients and minerals. And it will make your plants grow like crazy!

So if you’re about to dump out that last bit of coffee from your cup…DON’T. Water it down and pour it on your plants, indoors and out.

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Can You Put Bread in a Compost Pile?

Can you put bread in a compost pile?

The short answer is YES. It’s made from wheat, yeast and sugar which are organic and considered a brown for composting.

Some will say NO only because it can attract pests like rats, mice, birds, etc. because it’s food. You really do not want to attract these critters to your yard. The best thing to do is put bread in the middle of the compost pile. That way it’s out of sight and smell.

Bread will decompose rather quickly because its made from flour which is very small grains. Smaller particles will decompose much quicker than larger. Anything powdered will compost quickly.

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Is Coffee Good for Compost?

Is coffee good for compost?

The short answer is YES.

Coffee, either the grounds or the liquid are very good for your compost. Coffee grounds are a Green or a Nitrogen source and will heat up your compost pile very quickly. I read about a gentleman who added coffee grounds to his compost pile. It heated up to 140-150 degrees F for 2 days.

Most people think coffee or coffee grounds are a Brown when it comes to composting because it has a lot of Carbon, a C/N ratio of 20:1, but coffee grounds also have a lot of Nitrogen.

Liquid coffee is great for plants and your compost pile. It’s similar to compost tea. It’s filled with nutrients and beneficial microbes. Microbial action explodes when you pour coffee on compost.

If you are a coffee drinker/brewer save the grounds and filters. Throw them in your compost. They will accelerate decomposition and make super compost for your garden or yard. Don’t go overboard with it though. A little goes a long way. Don’t make half your compost pile coffee grounds.

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Are Coffee Grounds Brown or Green Compost?

Are coffee grounds brown or green compost?

Coffee grounds are actually to be classified as a Green even though its Carbon/Nitrogen ratio is 20:1. It is considered a Green or a Nitrogen because it does have a lot of Nitrogen.

Coffee grounds are an excellent addition to your compost pile and your garden. You can even use a thin layer of coffee grounds as a mulch. Coffee grounds improve the texture of soil and allow roots to expand easily. Softer soil is better for plants than hard compacted soil.

Coffee grounds also contain Potassium and Phosphorus. Potassium helps plants retain moisture while Phosphorus helps photosynthesis energy get transmitted throughout the plant.

Coffee grounds and brewed coffee will heat up your compost pile quickly. I read that someone put a few layers of coffee grounds in a compost pile and the temperature went up to 140-150 degrees F for 2 days. Heat speeds up the decomposing process. Coffee is just the thing to get things moving quicker.

If you are a brewer of coffee, you’ll have a good supply of used coffee grounds but if you do not brew your own or you don’t drink coffee then you can easily get a good supply of coffee grounds at your local coffee shop. Some coffee shops will have bags of used coffee grounds by the door for free.

Coffee grounds will lower the PH of alkaline soils because coffee grounds are slightly acidic. Most plants thrive in acidic soil.

If you vermicompost or compost with worms then you should add some coffee grounds to your vermicompost. Worms LOVE coffee!

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