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brown stuff / green stuff

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brown stuff / green stuff

Post  kittykat on 4/3/2012, 8:56 pm

So... if I mow the grass and collect the clippings and dump them straight onto the compost heap, they are green stuff. If I lay them out on a tarp to dry out, are they then brown stuff?

Same with comfrey leaves - I've got tons of it and it's so prolific. If I collect off the leaves and put them into the compost fresh, they are green stuff. If I dry them and crumble them, can I use them as brown stuff?

I read something about it somewhere, but I can't figure out where...

THANKS for your help!!


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Re: brown stuff / green stuff

Post  littlejo on 4/3/2012, 9:50 pm

I ordered Comfrey seeds, but they have not come up yet. Comfrey, supposedly, does not have much dry part to it, it just 'melts' away. Directions say to just put the leaves beneath your plants that need a nutrient boost. Or to add to the compost bin while green, I think it's like a compost starter! Jo

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Re: brown stuff / green stuff

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/3/2012, 11:17 pm

@kittykat wrote:So... if I mow the grass and collect the clippings and dump them straight onto the compost heap, they are green stuff. If I lay them out on a tarp to dry out, are they then brown stuff?

Same with comfrey leaves - I've got tons of it and it's so prolific. If I collect off the leaves and put them into the compost fresh, they are green stuff. If I dry them and crumble them, can I use them as brown stuff?

I read something about it somewhere, but I can't figure out where...

THANKS for your help!!


I think the grass would have to dry out completely(think something along the lines of straw) for them to be considered "brown".
If you cut the grass and let it dry for just a few days, I would call them "green". It's not that you're trying to turn them into a "brown", you just want the grass to dry out somewhat so it doesn't get all gloppy and gooey when added to the compost.

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Re: brown stuff / green stuff

Post  yolos on 4/4/2012, 12:20 am

The following information is taken from The Rodale Book of Composting -

"Freshly gathered green clippings (grass) are exceedingly rich in nitrogen and will heat up on their own if pulled into a pile. But, because of their high water content, they will also pack down and become slimy. This can be avoided by adding grass clippings in thin layers, alternating with leaves, garbage, manure, and other materials, thus preventing them from clumping together. Grass clippings and leaves can be turned into finished compost in 2 weeks if the heap is chopped and turned every 3 days."

It has been 3 months and my pile is still not completely composted (maybe because it is winter and I was only turning every 1 - 2 weeks instead of every 3 days.

"Clippings that have been allowed to dry out will have lost much of their nitrogen content but are still valuable as an energy source and to absorb excess moisture".

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Re: brown stuff / green stuff

Post  kittykat on 4/4/2012, 12:42 am

Thanks for the replies - much appreciated!

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Re: brown stuff / green stuff

Post  plantoid on 4/4/2012, 5:44 am

Add a layer of cut comfrey to the compost every time it's grown enough to get a decent amount of it.

It will compost and give up it's goodness to the rest of the heap. Composted comfrey is truly one of natures best & most natural plant foods .

Remake your comfrey bed somewhere else every five or six years or so by taking cuttings to ensure it does not lose its quality . Then when the second patch is up & running dig / rototill in the old patch & add some manures .

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Re: brown stuff / green stuff

Post  camprn on 4/4/2012, 6:39 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
@kittykat wrote:So... if I mow the grass and collect the clippings and dump them straight onto the compost heap, they are green stuff. If I lay them out on a tarp to dry out, are they then brown stuff?

Same with comfrey leaves - I've got tons of it and it's so prolific. If I collect off the leaves and put them into the compost fresh, they are green stuff. If I dry them and crumble them, can I use them as brown stuff?

I read something about it somewhere, but I can't figure out where...

THANKS for your help!!


I think the grass would have to dry out completely(think something along the lines of straw) for them to be considered "brown".
If you cut the grass and let it dry for just a few days, I would call them "green". It's not that you're trying to turn them into a "brown", you just want the grass to dry out somewhat so it doesn't get all gloppy and gooey when added to the compost.
green= nitrogen; brown= carbon
They are brown but the thing to remember is that grass is high in NITROGEN. While the level of nitrogen is a bit lower when dried, I believe it its still considered green. I use most of my grass clippings when they are fresh, but I sprinkle them lightly and thinly to avoid the masses of slime as big clumps of the stuff are thrown into the compost. If I am not turning the compost the same day I am mowing the lawn, I just dump the grass clippings next to the compost pile. I will use the clippings the next time I turn the pile. What a Face

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Re: brown stuff / green stuff

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/4/2012, 2:32 pm

@camprn wrote:They are brown but the thing to remember is that grass is high in NITROGEN.

Hey camprn.....what do you mean by "They are brown"?


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Re: brown stuff / green stuff

Post  camprn on 4/4/2012, 4:34 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
@camprn wrote:They are brown but the thing to remember is that grass is high in NITROGEN.

Hey camprn.....what do you mean by "They are brown"?

When the grass clippings dry out they lose their green color and a bit of the nitrogen but not enough to call it 'carbon' when talking about compost.

Does that help? Sometimes I am not very good at explaining myself... Rolling Eyes Sorry about that. Wink

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Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: brown stuff / green stuff

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/4/2012, 5:25 pm

@camprn wrote:
@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
@camprn wrote:They are brown but the thing to remember is that grass is high in NITROGEN.

Hey camprn.....what do you mean by "They are brown"?

When the grass clippings dry out they lose their green color and a bit of the nitrogen but not enough to call it 'carbon' when talking about compost.

Does that help? Sometimes I am not very good at explaining myself... Rolling Eyes Sorry about that. Wink

Ahh yes.

Brown in color. Gotcha

I guess the only way to turn grass into a "brown" or source or carbon is if you would dry it completely and turn it straw-like ....if that would be possible

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