Using only cardboard as browns?


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I find plenty of info on what and what not to compost, but hardly any info on quantities of the SAME material if your resources are limited...

I have virtually no leaves in my new townhome-esk neighborhood, but I have no shortage of cardboard for the most part. I could find straw/hay at a feedstore as I live in south Texas, but I don't trust that it doesn't contain herbicides and doubt that I could heat it up enough to kill the plethora of seeds that would happily germinate from it (if you have suggestions for acquiring trustworthy straw or think I'm being too paranoid please let me know!)

Is it ok (though not ideal I'd imagine) to only use shredded cardboard as browns in a 32 gal compost bin? My greens consist of 50% of veggie/fruit food scraps and 50% harvested plant material and overgrown weeds (pulled before going to seed). I stick these in a big bucket and jam a weedeater into it to (messily but effectively) chop it all up.

Otherwise, down the street there's a center median in another neighborhood which has a wealth of dead leaves. I'm sure nobody would look twice at me running out there with a rake and grabbing some. But so far I've been running all cardboard through a paper shredder and looks like it's breaking down so nicely. Would y'all suggest trying to grab some of those leaves still though (or giving the straw a shot)?
 
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I can say that you want an even amount of green and brown and if it smells it is probably off balance and not too wet just moist. As for just using cardboard for brown I am still fairly new to this but the few years I have been doing it I have found the cardboard breaks down very nicely mixed with greens and helps accumulate heat in my experience. Coffee grounds are also very nice for compost. You should not have to worry about seeds IF you can get the compost hot enough to decompose the seeds. Good Luck.
 
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Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
83
Reaction score
21
Location
Houston, Tx
Hardiness Zone
9a
Country
United States
I can say that you want an even amount of green and brown and if it smells it is probably off balance and not too wet just moist. As for just using cardboard for brown I am still fairly new to this but the few years I have been doing it I have found the cardboard breaks down very nicely mixed with greens and helps accumulate heat in my experience. Coffee grounds are also very nice for compost. You should not have to worry about seeds IF you can get the compost hot enough to decompose the seeds. Good Luck.
Exactly! It looks like it's working great, I'm just wondering how much I'm missing out on nutrient-wise... I've probably just answered my own question actually... I think I'll try to grab some of those leaves. I'm not sure if I should be concerned with anything legally... but I can't imagine anyone would complain about me cleaning up a neighborhood median a little, or I'll just be reeeeally quick :censored:
 

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