nickolas
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Location: Victoria, Australia

Another composting question.

Does anyone know the carbon to nitrogen ratio of pepper corn tree leaves, wattle leaves, eucalyptus leaves, Phalaris grass, pampass grass, prickly pear pads and tagasaste(which is also known in as Australia as white tree Lucerne or if you are from America I believe Lucerne is known as alfalfa) leaves, all of which go though a 2.5 hp shredder before being added to my many compost piles.

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rainbowgardener
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Nope... all of those are pretty exotic to me.

But all of them with the possible exception of the eucalyptus leaves would be "greens," higher in N than C.

Re the eucalyptus:

Natural chemicals in citrus peels, eucalyptus leaves, and pine needles can actually slow down your compost pile - avoid mixing them into your artistic masterpiece. https://www.composters.com/docs/tips.html

Sounds like you still need some browns for your pile.

I never pay any particular attn to C:N ratios, just a basic balance of green (soft, moist) and brown (hard, dry).
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

nickolas
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:04 am
Location: Victoria, Australia

I hope straw is a brown because I have a big round bale of old straw that I use as a brown in my compost piles.
Also I read in a composting book that good compost is made from 4 percent nitrogen and 96 percent carbon is that true.

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rainbowgardener
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Straw is a brown. Last summer when I ran out of fall leaves, I bought a bale of straw and used it for mulch and for brown in my compost. In my not real hot compost pile, the straw didn't break down as fast as the leaves do, but it did eventually break down.

I don't think that 96:4 ratio sounds right.

"Scientists (yes, there are compost scientists) have determined that the fastest way to produce fertile, sweet-smelling compost is to maintain a C:N ratio somewhere around 25 to 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, or 25-30:1"
https://www.composting101.com/c-n-ratio.html

But since that straw is 75:1 while even greens are usually in the range of
15:1 to 30:1 (yes, your high N sources are still 15 times as high in C).
That means if you make your pile 50:50 greens to browns by volume, you will come out with somewhere around the right ratio. How convenient!

So everyone can quit stressing about C:N ratios and just make sure their compost piles are balanced between greens and browns!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

nickolas
Senior Member
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:04 am
Location: Victoria, Australia

rainbowgardener wrote:Straw is a brown. Last summer when I ran out of fall leaves, I bought a bale of straw and used it for mulch and for brown in my compost. In my not real hot compost pile, the straw didn't break down as fast as the leaves do, but it did eventually break down.

I don't think that 96:4 ratio sounds right.

"Scientists (yes, there are compost scientists) have determined that the fastest way to produce fertile, sweet-smelling compost is to maintain a C:N ratio somewhere around 25 to 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, or 25-30:1"
https://www.composting101.com/c-n-ratio.html

But since that straw is 75:1 while even greens are usually in the range of
15:1 to 30:1 (yes, your high N sources are still 15 times as high in C).
That means if you make your pile 50:50 greens to browns by volume, you will come out with somewhere around the right ratio. How convenient!

So everyone can quit stressing about C:N ratios and just make sure their compost piles are balanced between greens and browns!
Thankyou for that info and link rainbowgardener very helpful.

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