I have a Tumbleweed composter and last year when brown material was
scarce, I shredded many newspapers and used them in the composter. I
won't make that mistake again. They just balled up in large clumps
compared to the rest of the composted material. Looked like compost on
the outside but newsprint on the inside. I put this composted material
on the garden last fall and when I tilled the bed just last week, I'm
still tilling up clumps of newsprint about 3" in diameter that still
didn't decompose after spending at least 6 months at which time I hand
dug the bed turning the compost under the soil. The best source of
brown material I found so far is fallen leaves in the fall but my
problem is, where do you find good brown material to ad to the
composter during the summer months? Lost of green material with all the
grass clippings but very little brown material.
I've used shredded paper in making compost batches quite often, and
there are two things you need to do to make it work.
1) Greatly increase the amount of 'green' material you are adding to the
batch. Where leaves can be something like 60:1 (C:N), paper can be as
much as 200:1. You may even need to add supplemental N from a
bagged source (fertilizers) to balance out a batch with a lot of paper.
2) Mix DRY PAPER with the green ingredients as thoroughly as possible
before binning it. Add moisture only AFTER the paper has been mixed
with the 'green' ingredients.
Well, the grass could happily accomodate those clippings, as long as
you mow frequently enough to keep them from clumping up. I only
rarely bag up the grass clippings.
However, you asked where the 'brown' material could come from.
At our place, we scrounge* massive amounts of leaves each fall, then
shred them and bag them in heavy 'contractor' grade trash bags. The
shredded leaves get tamped down as much as possible in the bags
before they are tie-wrapped closed.
The bags are stashed in the back corner of the yard and are available for
use in mulching or composting year rounds.
I'd pay good money for bagged, compressed shredded autumn leaves
at a garden center. We're not getting any younger, here.
*Conveniently set out at the curb by non-gardeners. There is an art
to selecting which bags are worth grabbing. Usually you pass up any
bag that seems heavy. And always check to see if there are any large
dogs in the back yard...
Pat in Plymouth MI
"Vegetables are like bombs packed tight with all kinds of important
On Sat, 13 Mar 2010 02:34:45 -0500, White_Noise email@example.com (EVP MAN)
I got plenty of brown right now, but it can get scarce in the summer.
Same with winter composting--lots of brown but little green. It is
easy to make brown material by spreading green material and allowing
the sun to dry it out for a few days. Perhaps you used too much
newspaper or it was not shredded enough. I have a load of sawdust and
bark chips, but I know too much is not good for an active compost
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