All The Brown Material You’ll Ever Need For Your Compost Bin

by Guest Contributor



                               

At my house there is never a shortage of green material (also known as wet or nitrogen-rich matter) – orange peels, corn husks, dinner food scraps, yard waste, etc. – for my compost bin, but when it comes to finding brown (also known as dry or carbon-rich) material, in the past I’ve often ended up coming up short. The trick, of course, to getting compost to work and breakdown into that coveted nutrient-rich soil is to have the right combination of both green and brown matter.

About a year ago, however, I posted my first Green Tip of the Week suggesting that my readers keep a bag or two (or three) of their dry fall leaves to use throughout the coming year as brown material to add to their compost pile or bin.

If you don’t have a lot of leaves in your yard, chances are you can find a neighbor who’d be more than willing to part with a couple bags of their leaves, especially if you agree to rake and bag them!

Luckily for us (I guess), we had no problem accumulating several bags of leaves to hold onto last fall which is exactly what I did and I was so happy to have the dry material whenever I needed it. The only problem was that I sometimes still forgot to add it (oops!) and then ended up with a huge fruit fly problem at the end of the summer (which I thankfully found a remedy for).

For a lot more information about composting, check out Julie’s post here on 5 Minutes For Going Green called “Let it Rot!

Original 5 Minutes for Going Green post.

You can read more from Amy Gates at her blog Crunchy Domestic Goddess where she writes about green living, attachment parenting, activism and maternal health. Subscribe to her blog here.

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1 Dawn October 15, 2008 at 10:35 am

I found that if my husband would bag the grass, and spread it in my “garden”…it would dry up, and work perfectly for the brown matter, then I would just scoop up some when I added new stuff, and mix it in…turning up what was left, to keep it dry…of course that’s not a problem now…except the kids want all the leaves to make big piles to jump in.

2 Lisa October 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm

The compost post is so timely for our house. We are finding that if we include food scraps in our compost then little (or big) rodents get at it and spread it out of the bin it is in, then our dog gets int it and eats whatever we put out there. My husband says that we need to stop putting scraps in the compost as that attracts the rodents. I am convinced there is something else we could do without giving up with the scraps. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks

3 Anna October 26, 2008 at 1:09 pm

What are you putting in your compost? Don’t put dairy or meat in your compost pile. This would attract rodents.

I usually bag about 7 bags of leaves for my brown matter for the next summer. If I would chop up the leaves, it would compost quicker.

I will be using leaves this fall to help some marginal plants as mulch so they don’t die from the cold. Leaves are great!

4 crunchy domestic goddess (amy) October 27, 2008 at 12:13 am

I found a few things online that might help:

Will composting attract rodents?
Composting will not attract rodents as long you keep meat, dairy, grease, grains and pet waste out, and be sure to use a rodent resistant bin (with a lid, a floor and no holes or gaps larger than ¼ inch). Composting in this way can actually reduce rodent problems, because your garbage will contain fewer fruits and vegetables, and those materials will break down without odor in your compost.

Will compost attract insects or rodents?
Compost piles have a bad reputation for inviting dogs and other pests, housing mice, rats, and snakes, and providing a breeding den for flies, mosquitoes, and other undesirable insects. If kitchen wastes are not covered or turned under, there could be a pest problem. But because the ComposT-Twin rests above the ground and keeps everything enclosed, you should not have a problem with pests.

5 Merlin13 October 22, 2009 at 8:22 am

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