dim
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green and browns mix?

hello,
I'm new at the forum and i don't know much for gardening. Is there any problem if i mix greens and browns ? I have a place where i through greens and some time i through small amount of animal leavings (chicken skin), meat, bones ect

ps.(this is mix of greens and browns, right?)
Why are seperated greens from browns ?

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Gnome
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dim,

Hello and welcome.
Is there any problem if i mix greens and browns ? Why are seperated greens from browns ?
They are not separated, they are combined in the pile. They are described as greens and browns in order to get the optimum ratio of the two. I believe 1/20 is the suggested ratio but I never get terribly precise. If you layer differing materials you are getting off on the right foot. Browns are carbon bearing materials such as dried leaves. Greens are Nitrogen bearing materials such as grass clippings. Most composters exclude animal products like meat and bones because they can attract unwanted animals to the pile, besides bones take a long time to break down.

Norm

dim
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thank you Norm very much for your answer ! ;)
They are described as greens and browns in order to get the optimum ratio of the two. I believe 1/20 is the suggested ratio but I never get terribly precise. If you layer differing materials you are getting off on the right foot.
So, if you take 1 kgr of greens and mix it with 20 kgr of browns you get the optimum ratio ?

dim

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smokensqueal
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dim the ratio is different depending on who you talk to. Plus everything isn't a brown or a green. Greens are things that have more Nitrogen in them then carbon. It's not a all or nothing type of thing. For example you may have access to cow manure (a green). Depending on what the cow ate depends on how much nitrogen it has in it. But if you get the cow manure after it's been in a stall and it has straw mixed it you may have close to a good mix of greens and browns.

Most people don't follow any ratio at all. They go off smell and feel. If it starts to smell you definitely have to many greens and will need to add browns to it. If it starts to feel dry you may not have enough greens or you may just need water. If you want a HOT compost pile you will need to stay on the pile turning it often and keeping it moist. If you have a cold pile you may just pile a lot up and let it sit.

TZ -OH6
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The 20:1 ratio is for the resultant carbon to nitrogen ratio, not for the ratio of greens to browns. Greens (living plant matter) has a carbon to nitrogen ration lower that 20:1, and browns (woody material, dead leaves) have a C:N higher, so you mix them in fairly equal amounts to even it out. A 20 to 30:1 C:N will give a balanced diet to your compost microbes, which eqauls faster breakdown.

cynthia_h
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Well said, TZ-OH6. It's the cumulative result of all of the Carbon:Nitrogen (Brown:Green) ingredients that determines the overall C:N ratio.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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rainbowgardener
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don't get hung up

I agree with smokeand... People get all technical and nerdy about composting, but it works quite well in nature with no scientists around. Just keep throwing whatever you have on your compost pile. Cover up your kitchen scraps with a good layer of weeds and leaves whenever you add them to the pile. Keep it damp (ie water the compost pile whenever the weather is dry enough that you need to water your plants). It will do fine. It may not heat up as much as the people who do fancy batch composting by recipes, but in a few months you will have compost!

cynthia_h
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That's what's great about making compost: you can be anywhere along the spectrum from

"Throw it in and wait" to

"My ratios *must* be optimum; I need to add x pounds of y ingredient, then aerate and add water to get the pile up to z temperature"

and you'll still get compost. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you that, as unlikely as it seems, it is possible to get gadget-happy about, of all things, compost. :?

Cynthia

dim
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thank you all for your interest ! I'll try now to "decode" the new meanings and basically to have patient for the combost 2 or 3 or ... mounths
Speaking about time, if i understrand well the time that needs combost to be ready is proportional to aeration of the combost ah :?: No matter it is greens or browns

:D

cynthia_h
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It's proportional to the temperature. The aeration + or - will determine whether you have aerobic :) composting taking place or anaerobic :x composting.

Cynthia

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TZ -OH6,
The 20:1 ratio is for the resultant carbon to nitrogen ratio, not for the ratio of greens to browns. Greens (living plant matter) has a carbon to nitrogen ration lower that 20:1, and browns (woody material, dead leaves) have a C:N higher, so you mix them in fairly equal amounts to even it out. A 20 to 30:1 C:N will give a balanced diet to your compost microbes, which eqauls faster breakdown.
Would you please to elaborate on this for my benefit as well as the original posters. If I understand your point nothing is either all green or all brown but somewhere in between so it's the overall ratio that's important not simply following a list. This does, however, begin to explain why I have had pretty good results with a mix that is usually about 50/50 dried leaves and grass clippings with a smattering of kitchen scraps for good measure.

dim,
if i understrand well the time that needs combost to be ready is proportional to aeration of the combost ah Question No matter it is greens or browns
No, that is not quite accurate. Aeration is relevant if you want 'hot' compost that will be ready in a relatively short time frame. Conversely, no amount of aeration (turning) will cause a mixture that is too far out of whack to heat up.

All of this is only of importance if you want 'hot compost' if you are willing to wait or just want to dispose of organic material in a 'green manner' then none of this matters, just pile it up and forget it.

Norm

cynthia_h
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Gnome, here's a very specific list of the C:N ratios in many common compost ingredients:

https://www.compostinfo.com/tutorial/ElementOfComposting.htm#CNRatio

There are TWO C:N ratios involved in making compost, and it's good to know which one you're dealing with (warning: beginning composters STOP reading NOW; you risk being confused by what I'm going to say)




OK. You have been warned...:twisted:





When compost makers discuss the "Carbon-to-Nitrogen" ratio, they are generally talking about the elemental ratio. All living (or formerly living) things contain both carbon and nitrogen (as well as oxygen and hydrogen). The ideal ratio of elemental carbon to elemental nitrogen is 30:1. However, this is very different from the volume of what goes into your compost pile/bin, which is much easier to track.

The simple way to keep track of the C:N volume ratio is to put Carbon-intense ingredients (Browns) in at a rate approx. 3 times that at which Nitrogen-intense ingredients (Greens) are added.

So...

C:N Elemental Ratio = 30:1

C:N Volume Ratio = 3:1

The basic site at

https://www.compostinfo.com/tutorial

is an excellent way of learning more about composting, even though you may have been making it for years. I've read it a couple of times, and still enjoy it! :D

Cynthia

dim
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thank you one more time! ;)
Basically, i would like to discuss what kind of improvement(s) is possible to make for my combost ... in case there is any !
Firstly, my pile is in an old bath tub so i think this need turning more than usual. Every time i add new scraps i turn also the content from right to the left and opposite.
Improvents, i mean to have an good temperature as possible
:D

2cents
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dim,
I am not a compost expert nor scientific about my compost.
May I make a suggestion, It sounds like you want Hot Compost, or aerobic compost that heats up for fast results.
Also you say your is in an old bath tub, I am guessing a porcelain over cast iron or copper or stainless steel.
All of these enclosures would prevent aeration from the sides(slowing the microbes access to a key element of oxygen necessary for aerobic activity.
Also, these tubs are metal, a good conductor of temperature/heat. These maybe robbing the microbes of the heat building aspect of the decompsition. Which may limit their reproduction rates.
Once again I maybe all wet in this thinking, surely someone smarter than I can clue us in if these are potential issues.
Maybe a more descriptive explanation of your set up may help some of these more informed respondants.
IMHO

rot
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Maybe you should be raising worms

 
Actually, a bathtub should be ideal for worm composting. Do a web search. I know of at least one person composting with worms in bathtubs. I don't know much about it myself though.

The first couple of sites that came up searching on 'worm composting' returned:

https://www.css.cornell.edu/compost/worms/basics.html

https://www.savvygardener.com/Features/worm_composting.html

The site(s) cynthia_h left are actually pretty good. I didn't find them dry at all. They've been around for awhile and I remember going back to there a few times to remind myself of a few things. It was one of the sites I referred to when starting out.

two cents
 

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Gnome
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Cynthia,

Thanks for the links. Now I know why my compost always worked well even though I, seemingly, was way off on my ratios. Apparently I get close enough with my low-tech method for it to work.

Norm



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