How to gauge brown to green ratio?


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Hey All,

We all know compost needs X green to X brown inputs to make good compost. What that ration is, everyone has different opinions. Once thing I have never been clear on though is what is being measured? Weight? Volumn? Some of other meaurement? I always based mine off weight and I was curious what you all do.

Thanks!
 
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As things become available I put them into the compost heap. If I have the mower out I run them through that first if I have time. When the heap is full I turn it into another heap alongside, which mixes it up pretty well. No ratios, I just put in everything I can get. The exceptions are autumn leaves and hedge cuttings, there is enough of them they can fill their own chicken wire cylinders, and they can take a bit longer to decompose.
 
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Hey All,

We all know compost needs X green to X brown inputs to make good compost. What that ration is, everyone has different opinions. Once thing I have never been clear on though is what is being measured? Weight? Volumn? Some of other meaurement? I always based mine off weight and I was curious what you all do.

Thanks!
Mass. Also called density sometimes. Particles per cubic volume. How much I can pick up with a pitchfork or shovel I guess. Not that I worry about it, everything goes on the pile. Add water sometimes it it does not rain. Watermelon rind went on today. Wet sugar makes it cook.
 
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There is a bucket for kitchen waste that empties into a separate plastic bin with a lid. On the whole it is much wetter and smellier than I want in my main pile, but if it is dry I will tip the odd bucket in there, or piss in it. There is a lovely word for deciding what is needed, it's a guesstimate, same as I use for distancing planting out and almost everything else. The only real measuring tool I use in the garden is the inside of the tomato fertiliser cap, then I use half the quantity recommended almost every time I water, which is about twice as often as fertilising is recommended, at a guesstimate.
 
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Haha thanks for your replies :) I guess its much less of a science than I have read in the past. I appreciate the inputs on my inputs! :p
 
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Haha thanks for your replies :) I guess its much less of a science than I have read in the past. I appreciate the inputs on my inputs! :p
When you pee on something the only positive peer reviews you will ever get are inside a joint like this one. Just sayin'...
 
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When you pee on something
That is useful, introduces moisture and all sorts of bacteria encouraging stuff. People used to give me stuff, come out from the back of the shed with a box with an inch of crusty dried blood in it "I don't know if this is any use to you?" . That went in the compost. Compost is not naturally high in nitrogen, so anything like that helps.
 
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I’ve never made a completed compost, but I’m in the process of my first batch. From what I’ve heard from peoples failed attempts is it smells awful if the ratio is messed up. Well if you’re not putting dairy or meat from what I’ve understood it should have no smell. Sooo that’s what I’ve been going off of so far. Anyone feel free to chime in and correct me if this isn’t a valid gauge! :D
 
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The forest composts dead animals but note how scattered that must be. What we do with a pile is very concentrated and odd in comparison. Generically like the forest floor, having lots of oxygen relative to the material in addition to moisture is the main trick. There are "greens" that fall during storms but not that much.
 
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I find if the missus throws several bucketfulls of weeds on the heap a while later I have several bucketfulls of dried weeds on top of the heap. If I get her to chuck them on the ground and pick them up with the mower they reduce to about a quarter of the volume and, if there are enough, start getting hot straight away. I think it is partly the denser state keeps it moist, but also the bacteria have an entry at all the places where leaves and stems are damaged.
 
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I find if the missus throws several bucketfulls of weeds on the heap a while later I have several bucketfulls of dried weeds on top of the heap. If I get her to chuck them on the ground and pick them up with the mower they reduce to about a quarter of the volume and, if there are enough, start getting hot straight away. I think it is partly the denser state keeps it moist, but also the bacteria have an entry at all the places where leaves and stems are damaged.

The same idea is true for my pile like overgrown huge zucchini will lay there quite a while unless cut. But they eventually go so less work for me.
 
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I am on heavy clay in a garden where the previous owner did nothing and had 'A man' in to 'do' the lawns and hedges every so often. The hedges are between four and six feet thick, and not thick at all. I have found the areas that were once cultivated years ago, but it has been left so long I am desperate for any organic material to add to the soil, so the quicker I can get it rotting down the better.
 
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I actually went to the thrift store and picked up a huge old food processor for $5.00. I take all my kitchen scraps and run it through it first before adding it to the compost and man, does it make a difference! It breaks down sooooo much faster for just a little extra time.

I am also turning my pile every 3 days or so to aerate and not allow it to go anaerobic. THAT is when your compost starts to smell bad. Generally its not the fats and meats (although those in general do smell bad when they breaks down and I never add anything other than fish to my compost).

Finally, another change this year is I am being much more careful with my watering. Before I would just take a bucket of water and splash it on and call it a day. This time, I am using approx 1/4 of a water can for my black bin compost and adding a quick pass over the surface between every 5 or so turns of the compost (I turn it over around 20 times each time I do so). This has also really helped adding enough moisture but not over doing it so things stick together and become anaerobic.
 
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I think I will shovel out my garden to just past tiller depth and spread that soil about the lawn. Then I will refill my clay "bowl" with something ridiculous just to expand my horizons.
Are you going to have your own TV show like P. Allen Smith too? That is exactly what he did, dug a huge hole 2 feet deep and filled it with the absolute best stuff money could buy.
 
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Are you going to have your own TV show like P. Allen Smith too? That is exactly what he did, dug a huge hole 2 feet deep and filled it with the absolute best stuff money could buy.
I think I am too cheap for that. But I have been looking for a great place to pile a bunch of cut up wood.
 
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