What is the Ratio of Brown to Green in Compost?

What is the ratio of brown to green in compost?

The proper ratio of brown (carbon) to green (nitrogen) is 2:1 or 2 parts (66%) brown to 1 part (33%) green when composting. Something to remember is that Browns are usually bulky and look large while Greens tend to compact and look smaller. So try to take this in consideration.

The real C/N ratio is 30:1 – 50:1 for optimum composting speed. In order to use this you have to know exactly what the C/N ratio of each material you add to your compost pile and then calculate the final C/N ratio.

So what happens when this ratio is off?

If you have too much Greens, you end up with ammonia gas and a lot of bad odors (this is why your trash stinks). If you have too much Browns, your compost pile will do nothing or decompose very slowly. So the ratio or Carbon (Brown) to Nitrogen (Green) is very important for speedy decomposition.

This C/N ratio or Carbon to Nitrogen ratio can seem difficult and to get it exactly right is very hard. But you don’t have to unless you want fast decomposition. If the ratio is off, decomposition will still occur but not as fast. It’s better to have more Brown or Carbon than vice versa. You can just add a little green here and there to speed it up. Or if you have too much Green and your compost pile smells, add some Brown until the smell goes away. Either way, you will get there. It just take practice.

This entry was posted in Composting. Bookmark the permalink.