Green Versus Brown Compost Materials

Organic Compost Pile

Getting the Right Mix of Compost Matter

An active and healthy compost pile needs the right mix of compost materials. To turn kitchen scraps and other materials into compost, your composting project needs the proper mixture of brown and green materials.  “Browns” are carbon materials. And “Greens” are items containing nitrogen. The nitrogen in the green items gets the decomposition process started and keeps it going.

The ideal mixture is a ratio of 4 parts Nitrogen to 1 part Carbon.

A properly working compost pile is 60% to 80% green matter. A higher percentage of green materials can result in a gooey, messy, ammonia-smelling pile. Too little nitrogen and the compost will not decompose. Or, it will do so ever so slowly. 

Tip: Put a wide range of organic matter into your composter. This results in a wider range of essential plant micro-nutrients in the finished product. 

Identifying Green and Brown Compost materials.

Green (Nitrogen) Compost Items

Brown (Carbon) Compost Items

Composting Tip: To speed up decomposition, mix and turn your compost regularly.

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