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Compost Calculator C:N ratios

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Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  yolos on 12/11/2012, 11:33 pm

I do not know if anyone has used the following calculator to determine the optimum mix of ingredients for the compost pile. But it is fairly instructive and interesting.

Try entering the following: 18 cuft of leaves, loose and 9 cuft of grass, loose. In the box it will show the C:N ratio of close to 30:1 (which is ideal).

Also, down below the information box is a link (About this Compost Mix Calculator) to a good explanation of the calculator.

http://www.klickitatcounty.org/solidwaste/fileshtml/organics/compostCalc.htm

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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  camprn on 12/12/2012, 6:58 am

That's cool! Thanks for posting!! okay

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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  Kelejan on 12/12/2012, 8:13 am

This looks as though this is going to be a very useful tool.
I put in the 64cf of compacted leaves I have collected this fall, and added the approx 15 cf of loose grass. As expected the ratio was about 47:1. I then added the estimated amount of vegetable and other stuff I have added, and brought it down to about 40:1.
In the spring I will turn my pile and add all the collected food waste/coffee grounds etc that I am collecting in my freezer over the winter.
The pile is frozen now until the spring, and it will be interesting to see how things work out, now I have a target to aim for with the 30:1 ratio.
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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  plantoid on 12/12/2012, 7:42 pm

Thanks for the calculator , I've had a play with it.

Run up several lists and then just put the totals in on the final calculation check to get a better idea.

Initially my whole animal dung based manures & beddding compost gave a ratio of around 20 but once I added other materials like chopped dry leaf, straw ,sawdust ( wood chip ) , kitchen veg waste & paper if was pointing to 40 ish .
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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  floyd1440 on 12/15/2012, 6:34 am

Thanks for the calculator!!!! Very nice tool to help plan as now I know what to add this spring to all my shreaded leaves I collected this past fall. Have a question however.

My next door neighbor has had his garden for over 30 years and all he does to his 20x30 plot is add about 6-8 inches of leaves every fall and tills them in every spring and he has great soil and crops as well; then he uses grass clipping to mulch around his plants. Am I over thinking my composting methods?

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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  bnoles on 12/15/2012, 7:16 am

Kelejan wrote:In the spring I will turn my pile and add all the collected food waste/coffee grounds etc that I am collecting in my freezer over the winter.
The pile is frozen now until the spring, and it will be interesting to see how things work out, now I have a target to aim for with the 30:1 ratio.

Just curious why you are storing your waste in the freezer if your pile is frozen. Why not just store it in the pile?

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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  Kelejan on 12/15/2012, 7:23 am

bnoles wrote:
Kelejan wrote:In the spring I will turn my pile and add all the collected food waste/coffee grounds etc that I am collecting in my freezer over the winter.
The pile is frozen now until the spring, and it will be interesting to see how things work out, now I have a target to aim for with the 30:1 ratio.

Just curious why you are storing your waste in the freezer if your pile is frozen. Why not just store it in the pile?
Partly because the stuff I am saving is being prepared for my worms that I hope are surviving in my pile during the winter.
As the pile is frozen, I can only put my new stuff on top of the pile.
I also want to weigh everything before I turn it in the spring so that I can calculate my ratios.
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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  bnoles on 12/15/2012, 8:08 am

Thanks! That makes perfect sense.

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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  plantoid on 12/15/2012, 1:40 pm

floyd1440 wrote:Thanks for the calculator!!!! Very nice tool to help plan as now I know what to add this spring to all my shreaded leaves I collected this past fall. Have a question however.

My next door neighbor has had his garden for over 30 years and all he does to his 20x30 plot is add about 6-8 inches of leaves every fall and tills them in every spring and he has great soil and crops as well; then he uses grass clipping to mulch around his plants. Am I over thinking my composting methods?


Floyd , sounds like you've been drinking lots of those beer mugs and gone back to old fashioned row gardening thinking Wink

What your friend is doing , will over time build up the soil , but it will also contain lots of slow to rot material that will use up some of the nitrogen that could be used by the plants instead .

Being tree leaf matter it wil, contain all sorts of nutrients but making a vary varied compost as per Mel's suggestions will have many more nutirents available and other trace elements not normally found in simple composted leaves .

That's why Mel suggests it and why I have had some massive quality veg out my beds ( check out the gallery .... big veg stuff )
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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  camprn on 12/15/2012, 3:08 pm

plantoid wrote:
floyd1440 wrote:Thanks for the calculator!!!! Very nice tool to help plan as now I know what to add this spring to all my shreaded leaves I collected this past fall. Have a question however.

My next door neighbor has had his garden for over 30 years and all he does to his 20x30 plot is add about 6-8 inches of leaves every fall and tills them in every spring and he has great soil and crops as well; then he uses grass clipping to mulch around his plants. Am I over thinking my composting methods?


Floyd , sounds like you've been drinking lots of those beer mugs and gone back to old fashioned row gardening thinking Wink

What your friend is doing , will over time build up the soil , but it will also contain lots of slow to rot material that will use up some of the nitrogen that could be used by the plants instead .

Being tree leaf matter it wil, contain all sorts of nutrients but making a vary varied compost as per Mel's suggestions will have many more nutirents available and other trace elements not normally found in simple composted leaves .

That's why Mel suggests it and why I have had some massive quality veg out my beds ( check out the gallery .... big veg stuff )
Floyd, I think the key here is that you have a no till garden thus you have to make the compost elsewhere. Or am I being too simple?

Grass clippings from low growing, no seeds grass is excellent mulch in the SFG.

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http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  Kelejan on 12/15/2012, 6:08 pm

bnoles wrote:Thanks! That makes perfect sense.

Rw: putting my stuff in the freezer instead of directly on the pile during the winter.
Another good thing that I am appreciating today is that I don't have to go through the snow. It is snowing now, not a lot yet, but it is forecast for the enxt few days. then there is January, February, March and sometimes April. Sad
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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  floyd1440 on 12/16/2012, 5:22 pm

Hey camprn.........

Just saying what my neighbor does works for him but I am all in Mel's method. I have 2 compost bins holding 88 cu ft of compost that I loaded last fall and about 4 cu ft. of leaves on the ground. Seems to me that browns are hard to find in the summer so I fugured I would squirl up on them this past fall.

Needed another pile of greens though
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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  camprn on 12/16/2012, 5:30 pm

floyd1440 wrote:Hey camprn.........

Just saying what my neighbor does works for him but I am all in Mel's method. I have 2 compost bins holding 88 cu ft of compost that I loaded last fall and about 4 cu ft. of leaves on the ground. Seems to me that browns are hard to find in the summer so I fugured I would squirl up on them this past fall.

Needed another pile of greens though
LOL, I know what you mean. In the summer I pile all the grass clippings to save them for when all the dry leaves come in the fall. I tend to do the hot composting once a year when all the leaves come in. For me it's all about planning ahead in the garden. Wink

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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  oldgrayfox on 12/18/2012, 4:23 am

thanks for the calculator yolos. i used it to start my first compost pile this past weekend and was quite pleased with myself yesterday to find it has all ready started to cook.
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Re: Compost Calculator C:N ratios

Post  llama momma on 12/18/2012, 5:02 am

There is nothing wrong with a calculator. But, for those who don't want to mess with the details of a calculator like me, I have been basically - by weight - generally eyeballing and by feel of the shovel weight, adding about equal parts of Nitrogen based ingredients and Carbon based ingredients. This approach evens out your balancing act. The temperature readings are so far right around 140 degrees, making this newbie 2 year experienced composter pretty happy. And for a quick nitrogen fix remember the urine to water dilution of 1 to 20. And leaves are your friends, if you have the space for a leaf corral or two, by all means plan to have those corrals to support your composting efforts. Free and Carbon sources like leaves are great, might as well have your corrals all ready for Fall storage. I'm still breaking open bags and tossing into the corrals.
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