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C:N ratio

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C:N ratio

Post  jimmy cee on 11/22/2013, 1:48 pm

Need to clear something in my feeble mind.

C:N ratio 30 - 1
Does this mean like.... 30 parts of leaves to 1 part of (lets say) kitchen scraps
thirty 5 gallon buckets of leaves to 1 bucket of kitchen scraps.
or
does this mean leaves make up 30 parts of carbon and 1 part of nitrogen themselves ?

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  camprn on 11/22/2013, 1:56 pm

Carbon:nitrogen by Cornell Composting.
http://compost.css.cornell.edu/chemistry.html

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  sanderson on 11/22/2013, 4:18 pm

Jimmy, no.  Check out camp's link.

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  jimmy cee on 11/22/2013, 5:00 pm

I have camps suggestion printed out in front of me.
Not quite sure why this is happening to me, however I cannot make head or tail of this C:N ratio thing.
I think I have it and then whammo I don't.
Probably the most confusing item I have ever faced in my life.
Gotta be simple and I can't get it...
Maybe the carbon in my brain needs some nitrogen... I'll give it some of this anyway... 

Well regardless of the formula it's working great for me, I have one 4 X 6 pile that needs to be screened now.

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  yolos on 11/22/2013, 8:01 pm

Don't know how accurate this compost calculator is, but it is a good reference.


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

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  camprn on 11/22/2013, 9:12 pm

Keep mulling it over Jimmy, it will eventually click! Confidence is high.
http://www.compostjunkie.com/composting-carbon-nitrogen-ratio.html

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  jimmy cee on 11/22/2013, 10:08 pm

ok lets put it another way...maybe....

a leaf is composed of elements.... among those elements are

30 parts of carbon and 1 part of nitrogen ???

If I can get this in my noggin the rest will be easy

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  jimmy cee on 11/22/2013, 10:16 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:ok lets put it another way...maybe....

a leaf is composed of elements.... among those elements are

30 parts of carbon   and 1 part of nitrogen      ???

If I can get this in my noggin the rest will be easy
another
The C/N ratio or carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is a ratio of the mass of carbon to the mass of nitrogen in a substance. It can, amongst other things, be used in analysing sediments and compost. Carbon-to-nitrogen ratios are an indicator for nitrogen limitation of plants and other organisms. ...

a substance can be 1 leaf , or a bucket of leaves, or a ton of leaves  ?

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  floyd1440 on 11/23/2013, 6:02 am

Hey Jimmy

You are getting closer to understanding the C/N ratio.  If you are having difficulty understanding this compost terminology then you should check out other places on this site or go to other websites.  I finally broke down and got a book on composting and the first thing it address is the components, or ingredients, to a compost pile.

Browns are carbon rich and some examples are leaves, pine needles, paper, etc.

Greens are grass clippings,  coffee grounds, kitchen scraps, etc.

Since each component has a different C/N ratio,  how to get the "perfect pile" with a 30-40 ratio?  Both some websites mentioned before and the book I have tell you how to do it.

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  jimmy cee on 11/23/2013, 7:30 am

@floyd1440 wrote:Hey Jimmy

You are getting closer to understanding the C/N ratio.  If you are having difficulty understanding this compost terminology then you should check out other places on this site or go to other websites.  I finally broke down and got a book on composting and the first thing it address is the components, or ingredients, to a compost pile.

Browns are carbon rich and some examples are leaves, pine needles, paper, etc.

Greens are grass clippings,  coffee grounds, kitchen scraps, etc.

Since each component has a different C/N ratio,  how to get the "perfect pile" with a 30-40 ratio?  Both some websites mentioned before and the book I have tell you how to do it.
Floyd
You answered my simple little question    "each component has a different C?N ratio"
Thanks so much, I can go from here now, This was a severe stumbling block in my mind.
Last spring my son showed me all kinds of formulas regarding this.
Being a Chemist he has it all  down solidly, however even he could not answer or understand what I was asking so I just dropped it.
I have a library on composting, not 1 book was able to clear this up for me.
Thank you  and everyone who tried to help.
I love composting, find it extremely fascinating and want to learn as much as I'm able.

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  llama momma on 11/23/2013, 8:25 am

Jimmy --  a few more thoughts!
 
While the 30/1 ratio is a perfect ratio -- from my experience the past 3 years, you certainly won't need to make yourself a perfectionist either. You could weigh things out like you first mentioned but to me that would get tedious really fast.  40/1 works too and other higher ratios also.  The higher carbs will take longer to break down. In time it will All break down.  Since every ingredient  has its own c/n ratio that is a good thing.  Then the microbes have a constant source of available food as one source gets used up then on to the next!   There are a couple more  factors I keep in mind.  They are: Variety of ingredients use 5 or more types. Manure or any combinations of manure should not be more than 20% of your pile.   Turning the pile or poking holes adds oxygen to keep the microbes alive to do their decomposing work. I use a long heavy rebar to easily poke holes and that worked fine when I didn't feel like turning the pile. The other is chopping ingredients into smaller pieces.  This gives greater surface area for the microbes to go to work on.  Lastly, is moisture.

My leaves are available in bulk by mid to end of November yet I push to have finished compost by march/april.  But it's not all ready.  So last year I bought time by doing the Berkely Hot composting method (labor intensive) on a nearly finished batch plus added new stuff to it and had compost in about a month.  This let the rest of the compost piles cook in their own time and kept me supplied the rest of the gardening season.

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  jimmy cee on 11/23/2013, 4:03 pm

The upper compost bed in may last picture was aerated every couple of days with an extension prong.
I completely turned that bed about once a week, checking on moisture content, etc.
This pile had last springs fresh cow manure and I cannot believe the worms that live in it.
Not nighcrawlers, just small red worms that are bunched up in balls about as big as a softball.

I've been getting discarded produce from a local grocery store, now before adding I am chopping it all up with a sharpened ice scraper...leaves, fall cuttings, coffee grinds, and more added every couple of days...
When it gets cold out, I'm unhappy about not being able to take care of my compost pile....LOL....
Who cares about the garden ?  Laughing ...
Whatever I was doing was correct as that pile is now ready to be screened which I'll most likely do when temps moderate a bit.
I am now rebuilding the frame work on the compost piles, all this was just an experiment in the beginning...
Now it's an OBSESSION    and all Mel's fault...Laughing

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  floyd1440 on 11/23/2013, 7:33 pm

WOW........I was over collecting an other batch of leaves from his 20 year pile and I dug down a few feet, black gold!  I shoveled up a wheel barrow load and have it in buckets inside to dry out.

Think I should get it tested?  Anyway if it is as good as it looks, there is something to be said about slow composting too.

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 11/23/2013, 7:47 pm

About 10 years ago, we owned a home in San Diego County that was a historic adobe farmhouse under huge old oak trees. The property had been one of the original homesteads during the 1860s and was such an unusual one for the area. Those oak trees had 5 to 6 foot diameter trunks which translated into 500 to 600 years of age. The soil there was the most amazing I have ever had the privilege to garden in. It was at least 2 feet deep without a single rock in it. The only real problem was the lack of sunlight.

Those oak trees dropped their leaves all year round, they were always green but at the same time always shedding leaves. We literally had to blow the leaves off of our large brick patio every single week. So a constant thin layer was being laid down.

We had an old water tower building that was 2 stories high and had a flat top where the tank used to be. My husband got up there one day to repair the roof and found 18 inches of pure, amazing soil|leaf mold|compost or whatever it was!

As in nature, it seems that absolutely everything will break down in time and feed the garden. We can work hard and do it quickly (and sometimes we have to do that) or we can be lazy and all we really need to do is pile it up and give it time Laughing 

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Re: C:N ratio

Post  llama momma on 11/24/2013, 3:57 pm

jimmy cee

I saw this article and thought of you immediately, take a gander let me know what you think!

http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/carbonnitrogenratio.html

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Re: C:N ratio

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