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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