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Composting Tip: What is the right mix of browns and greens?

Hi Everyone! Renata here again with a new composting blog series! Each week I am going to upload a new composting tip to help your compost create awesome soil. All of these tips will also be in video form posted within the blog, and on the Sun & Swell Instagram. 

This week's composting tip dives deeper into the right mix of "browns" and "greens" that you should aim for in your compost.

Let's back up and learn a bit more about the chemistry that goes on in a compost pile. Specifically, the interaction of carbon (browns) and nitrogen (greens). 

Browns: Browns refer to the drier compost ingredients like yard clippings, egg shells, and cardboard. These ingredients are carbon rich and facilitate water and air flow by providing structure to the compost pile which aids all the microorganisms working to get everything broken down. 

Greens: Greens refer to the moist ingredients like food scraps, fresh mown grass, and tea bags. These ingredients are nitrogen rich and help with microbial growth (what makes everything break down). 

The optimal ratio is about 3:1 browns to greens. You should aim to have a layer of browns at the bottom and then alternate layers as you move up the pile. Your brown layers can be thicker than green layers to achieve this ratio. 

Remember that this ratio - or something similar - is what will make your compost decompose the fastest, but is not necessary for successful composting! Composts can vary based on climate, particle size (a banana peel will compost much faster than a large piece of cardboard), humidity, and tons of other factors. The beauty of composting is that you get to experiment with what works best for your specific pile. 

Happy composting!