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Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

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Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  kurango on 5/19/2011, 9:04 pm

Can someone tell me why it takes so much longer for the browns to compost?

I would have compost if it were not for the browns because that is what I can ID. Leaves, pine needles, cardboard etc.

TIA,
kurango

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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  The Cat's Other Mother on 5/19/2011, 9:12 pm

No idea. Maybe not as many things are willing to eat the browns? Pine needles take forever, though. I've given up on them.

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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  WardinWake on 5/19/2011, 9:45 pm

kurango wrote:Can someone tell me why it takes so much longer for the browns to compost?

I would have compost if it were not for the browns because that is what I can ID. Leaves, pine needles, cardboard etc.

TIA,
kurango

Howdy:

A hot compost pile can have compost in as little as two weeks. To get a hot pile you can follow Mel's 4M method of composting. It is found in the "ALL NEW Square Foot Gardening" book starting on page 92.

The "4M's" stand for Mix, Mash, Moisten, Move. When properly worked your browns and greens will turn into Black Gold in short order.

When I have had problems with the brown material not composting as quickly as the greens it was due to low moisture in the pile. Greens by their very nature will have more moisture in them then the browns. Sometimes we have to help nature out by adding additional moisture to the pile when we turn it.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  camprn on 5/19/2011, 9:48 pm

+1 Very Happy
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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  kurango on 5/19/2011, 11:52 pm



Howdy:

A hot compost pile can have compost in as little as two weeks. To get a hot pile you can follow Mel's 4M method of composting. It is found in the "ALL NEW Square Foot Gardening" book starting on page 92.

The "4M's" stand for Mix, Mash, Moisten, Move. When properly worked your browns and greens will turn into Black Gold in short order.

When I have had problems with the brown material not composting as quickly as the greens it was due to low moisture in the pile. Greens by their very nature will have more moisture in them then the browns. Sometimes we have to help nature out by adding additional moisture to the pile when we turn it.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

Ya I have been doing the 4M method. Turning the 3x3 pile every other day, by hand. Meaning . . . I fluff it a lot, tear up anything that looks it is not decomposing fast enough. All the cardboard went through the paper shredder, it is the 2nd time the pine needles have been in the mix plus I keep cutting them smaller hoping they will someday compost. The leaves are either very small or chopped up smaller than I have seen others.

I have an old candy thermometer that I use to take its temp. which is usually approximately 150, which is hot enough, maybe too hot.

I will try watering it more.

Thanks for your suggestions,
kurango

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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  Miss M on 5/20/2011, 1:41 am

Is grass hay brown or green? Mine's mostly a very light tan color.

If I cut my grass, and let it dry before putting it in, is it still green, even though it's still got a good bit of green color? :?:

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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  WardinWake on 5/20/2011, 5:33 am

kurango wrote:


Howdy:

A hot compost pile can have compost in as little as two weeks. To get a hot pile you can follow Mel's 4M method of composting. It is found in the "ALL NEW Square Foot Gardening" book starting on page 92.

The "4M's" stand for Mix, Mash, Moisten, Move. When properly worked your browns and greens will turn into Black Gold in short order.

When I have had problems with the brown material not composting as quickly as the greens it was due to low moisture in the pile. Greens by their very nature will have more moisture in them then the browns. Sometimes we have to help nature out by adding additional moisture to the pile when we turn it.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

Ya I have been doing the 4M method. Turning the 3x3 pile every other day, by hand. Meaning . . . I fluff it a lot, tear up anything that looks it is not decomposing fast enough. All the cardboard went through the paper shredder, it is the 2nd time the pine needles have been in the mix plus I keep cutting them smaller hoping they will someday compost. The leaves are either very small or chopped up smaller than I have seen others.

I have an old candy thermometer that I use to take its temp. which is usually approximately 150, which is hot enough, maybe too hot.

I will try watering it more.

Thanks for your suggestions,
kurango

Kurango:

To check for proper moisture level reach into the middle of the pile and pull out a handful and give it a squeeze. If a few drops of water are squeezed out you are just right. It sounds like you are on the way to a very good and wonderful compost. Your pile size is good and your fluffing and turning rate is great.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  WardinWake on 5/20/2011, 5:36 am

Miss M wrote:Is grass hay brown or green? Mine's mostly a very light tan color.

If I cut my grass, and let it dry before putting it in, is it still green, even though it's still got a good bit of green color? :?:

Miss M:

If you let fresh cut grass dry for one to two days it is still considered a green. If your pile is on the dry side you can go ahead and mix in the fresh cut grass without waiting. Just be sure to mix it with the other ingredients in the compost.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  Miss M on 5/21/2011, 10:53 am

WardinWake wrote:Miss M:

If you let fresh cut grass dry for one to two days it is still considered a green. If your pile is on the dry side you can go ahead and mix in the fresh cut grass without waiting. Just be sure to mix it with the other ingredients in the compost.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

Thank you, I appreciate it! I have some grass that I let dry for two to three days before collecting it as hay for my rabbits. Then I also have some hay that I bought. Some of both end up dropped through, and cannot be reused for the rabbits, so I'm composting it. I take it from your answer that my grass could be considered green, though some of it I left out a day too long. And my bought hay would be brown, since I am sure that stuff is allowed to dry a good bit longer. What a Face

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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/21/2011, 12:48 pm

MissM, if you are using hay and not straw in your compost, you may end up with a lot of weeds/grass growing in your compost and then in your MM.

Hay has seed heads

Straw is just the stems
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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  kurango on 5/22/2011, 2:38 am

Dear Ward and Mary,

I made the pile nice and moist just like you wrote. . .

To check for proper moisture level reach into the middle of the pile and
pull out a handful and give it a squeeze. If a few drops of water are
squeezed out you are just right.

But now I have no heat! Dang!
thinking

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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  Kelejan on 5/22/2011, 2:49 am

kurango, I also turned my compost pile today and found it rather dry, so watered it as I went along.

You will not feel any extra heat for a little while as it has to build up. I suggest checking the temperature every day then you will see progress from when you started.

I will have to dig out my candy thermometer. Let's see who reaches top first.
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Re: Why Does It Take So Much Longer For The Browns

Post  Kelejan on 5/22/2011, 3:16 pm

[quote="Kelejan".

I will have to dig out my candy thermometer. Let's see who reaches top first.[/quote]

I could not find my candy thermometer, only the plastic container it came in so today I went and bought another at Canadian Tire. It took ages as no one seemed to understand when I talked about testing the temperature of my compost pile. They sure need some compost education, lol. In the end I bought a BBQ
thermometer and now it is stuck in my compost pile and reads a measley 75F.

I will have to see if I am right about it taking a few days to warm up. It has been raining all night and so far today, quite steady and cool. Should let up tomorrow and a bit of sun, then rain the rest of the week.

My compost pile is four foot square (four more SFG beds in waiting) but the compost itself is only two feet deep, I need to fill it a bit more to be able to build a decent heat.

ETA: Looks like I will ahve to find out how to "quote" properly. I'll get there.
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