Adding Browns to Your Compost Pile

I recently talked about compost piles and how to add greens, but without browns…well, there’s just no compost.  Or at least healthy, fresh-smelling compost.  And here in the Phoenix desert, good compost is the key to growing great edibles.

Brown materials contain the carbon that balances the nitrogen found in green materials.  Dry leaves make up most of the brown materials that will likely go into your compost pile.  But there are other good sources of browns, too:

  • Dry leaves (including dead plant trimmings)
  • Shredded paper
  • Sawdust (in small amounts)
  • Straw (can also be used as mulch)
  • Pine needles (in limited quantities)

I mix browns and greens equally, and water and turn in between.  Again, a really good resource for composting–written by a Master Gardener here in Phoenix–is Composting For Dummies.  The book provides more precise information about the how’s and why’s of composting, as well as more general information about bins, tools, and more.

 

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