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What Compost Materials to Use
It is important to spend a few minutes learning how to compost, and what compost materials you can put into your compost bin. Sure, nature will compost for you....over time. But, it's pretty easy to use the proper technique, for fast and efficient composting. There are two keys:
1. Knowing what to compost , and in what mixture.
2. Turning and mixing the pile regularly.
The Right Mix
To turn kitchen scraps and other materials into compost, you need the proper mixture of "Browns" (also called Carbons), and "Greens" (items containing Nitrogen). Greens containing nitrogen, get the composition process started, and keeps it going.
As a rule of thumb use a Nitrogen to Carbon ratio of 4 to 1. In other words, use 4 parts of green materials to every one part of brown materials. In order for the compost to decompose at a reasonable rate, there should be no less than 60% green materials. A higher amount of green materials can result in a gooey, ammonia smelling pile. Too little nitrogen, and the compost will not decompose, or will do so ever so slowly.
Tip: The more types of materials that you put into your compost mix, the wider the range of essential plant micro-nutrients that will be in the finished product.
Now that you know the importance of the right mix, lets see what items are "Greens", and what are "Browns". .............................
Brown Materials (Carbon):
Tip: Shredding materials first, creates more surface area and increase the rate of decomposition.
Green Materials (Nitrogen):
What Else to Compost:
What Not to Compost:
Perhaps knowing what "not to compost" as as important as knowing what to compost.
For more on composting, see Composting and Mulch at The Gardener's Network.
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