Newly Registered
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:32 am
Location: Southern York county, Pennsylvania, USA

Correct brown in compost

Yesterday I started a compost pile in a old large trash can. I put two inch hole all over it for ventilation. Plus I built I 4x3 foot stake and chicken wire area for transfer and turning. My main question is the leaves I used. Since it is still summer here Pennsylvania I went to a local wooded area pulled leaves off the forest floor. Most of them were close to decaying already. So I used three parts leaves, sawdust and few road apples(horse manure) and one part grass clipping, corn stalks and coffee grounds and old rotten fruit. So far today(16 hours later) my can is getting warm. I plan to turn it every week or if it cools down. Thanks for any advice in advance.


Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2661
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Correct brown

In a longer term, the duff off of your woodlot probably will have its best outcome resting under your woodlot trees.

In the short term, to get some browns, no harm--no foul.

Torn up cardboard, shredded news paper can all stand in for autumnal leaves just fine. An' the more you use out of the waste stream, the smaller that waste stream becomes. (a good thing)

Composting is a process of shrinking a whole lot of stuph, into a much smaller pile of humus. Once things have stopped heating up, its OK to let it finish in the larger bin.

Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Re: Correct brown in compost


Tomc pretty much nailed it. Can't go wrong listening to him. My concern is that the trash can will have insufficient air and retain too much moisture. Further, it sounds like a small volume. While a small volume is doable, it's harder to do than the 3 x 3 x 3' volumes that are so often recommended.

If you start getting wet smelly stuff that doesn't appear to do anything, look to changing up your container to provide more air and sufficient drainage. That's the typical problem I've heard when using tumbler type devices.

I just assume fill up the 4 x 3 stake and chicken wire thing turning it every so often and keeping it moist.

to sense

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