The Perfect Compost Recipe – How to Get Your Compost Heap Cooking!

[Music] Most people think composting is as simple as throwing all food and
garden waste into a container and leaving it there for a couple of
years. While you will get compost that way, you can produce much better compost and
get it much more quickly if you follow these simple guidelines
for the perfect recipe. There are 4 ingredients for good compost: greens, browns, air, and moisture. These 4 need to be balanced correctly
for best results. The ingredients you add to a compost
heap contain carbon and nitrogen. The ratio of carbon to nitrogen
determines whether we label it a ‘green’ or a ‘brown’. Ingredients that have a
relatively high nitrogen content and a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio below
30:1 are called ‘greens’. Ingredients with a lower
nitrogen content (in other words a higher carbon-to- nitrogen ratio) are called ‘browns’. Color isn’t always a reliable indicator of what is a ‘green’ or a ‘brown’ material. For example, fresh grass clippings when spread out and left to dry are still considered a ‘green’ ingredient even though they’ve turned a brownish color, because really all they’ve lost is water. On the other hand, straw is always
considered a ‘brown’ because before it was cut, the main stems had died and much of the plant’s nitrogen had gone into the seeds as protein. Good examples of greens to add to your compost pile are grass clippings (which haven’t been
sprayed with weedkiller), vegetable waste, fruit peels, annual weeds before they’ve developed seeds, and old bedding plants. Don’t compost animal products such as meat, and try to avoid adding diseased plant material, or
fats and oils. Good examples of browns include sawdust, straw, woodchippings, shredded brown cardboard, and fallen leaves. Bedding from herbivorous pets such as guinea pigs is ideal, as their manure adds a bit of extra nitrogen into the mix. Compost decomposes much faster if you
chop the ingredients up, so shredding woody materials and tearing
up cardboard speeds up the process because there is then more surface area exposed to the microbes that decompose the compost. However, avoid
shredded evergreen trees such as Leylandii because they don’t
compost well and the pine resin can inhibit seed growth. When making compost you want to aim for 2-3 times more brown materials than greens, at least initially, although some more
greens can be added as the compost cooks. For most gardeners, the biggest challenge
is therefore collecting enough brown materials and not just piling in loads of greens
which will result in a soggy, smelly mess. Never add lots of grass clippings in one go as they will just form a slimy matted layer. Air is vital to the composting process so it’s important to mix the ingredients
in together, and never squash them down. By turning or remixing the compost more
air is introduced, which speeds up decomposition. The fourth vital ingredient is water. If like me you stockpile brown materials,
you’ll need to water the pile to get things going when first mixing it. Build the compost pile up with layers of
browns and greens, watering it where necessary to produce a
moist (but not soggy) mixture. A good compost heap has a slightly sweet
composty smell. If it smells sour or rotten then it
either has too many greens, or is too wet. In either case, the remedy is
to mix more brown materials in to compensate. By getting the right balance of 2 or 3
parts browns to 1 part greens with moisture and air, you’re giving the microbes that decompose the materials the best conditions to work in. As they break the organic matter down they give off heat, which in turn speeds
up the decomposition. In a well-mixed heap temperatures can
easily reach over 150 degrees Fahrenheit, or
65 degrees Celsius. This heap for example was mixed
several days ago and it’s already been cooking nicely,
although it’s starting to cool a little now. After a few more days I will remix it to introduce more air and to bring materials from the edges into the center. Several weeks later the heap will cool, and worms can move in to finish the process. If you follow this recipe you should get a fine, crumbly-textured compost. Any remaining large bits can be sieved out and put into the next compost heap you build, leaving you with the very best food for
your plants. [Music]

100 thoughts on “The Perfect Compost Recipe – How to Get Your Compost Heap Cooking!

  1. Thank you,, that was very informative. My husband n I are 66 n 70 n have 2 acres we tend by ourselves. It's gotten a lot harder, so we r going 2 plant in containers. If there is anything else we can do 2 make our gardening easier, your comments or suggestions would be welcomed!!! God bless you n yours.

  2. OK, burt in Canada, where it gets to minus 30 c, my compost is always frozen by the end of winter, No matter how much I try to follow the formula. Any advice?

  3. I thought you weren’t supposed to put wood in compost because it takes nitrogen out of the soil to compost the wood?

  4. I seemed to be doing well with coffee grounds and brown leaves, but then I started adding in greens and now it is pretty slimy. Doesn't smell bad, though, but I have to keep messing with it to prevent that. It is in a Brute garbage can.

  5. Clear instructions, well done! The only difference is that we compost meat and fish in our metal compost bin, the Speedibin, as vermin can't chew in.

  6. At the end there, do you mean you actually put the worms in or that they sorta find their way there naturally?

  7. Wow so much information thank you very much you sound like you know what are you talking about. At many places they said 1:1 and you know what i ended up with. Thanks for giving out correct information

  8. We have 40 compoting pits. The side walls are 3.5 feet high with no holes. We are able to successfully make compost from the pits containing dry leaves (browns) but when we put worms into the pits containing kitchen waste, the worms die within 3 to 4 days. Why? There is sour smell. Too much wet. Please advise what to do?

  9. Great video about composting! However, at 1:02, the ratio between green and brown is illustrated as 30:1, but at 2:31, you mentioned "when making compost you want to aim for 2-3 times more brown materials than greens." Therefore, could you please clarify if the ratio for browns should be more than greens? Thanks so much! 🙂

  10. And what do I do with the compost? Shall I use it all as the soil for my plants or just half or just a bit when I plant something?

  11. Have to agree here, been watching a few of your videos now and I feel ready to give gardening a serious go, just need a few more videos! 🙂 Thank you very much for your time and effort you have planted (bad pun) in these videos!

  12. Perfect video! question – stated ratio 30:1 greens to browns. Wondering how that translated later to "1 part green/2,3 parts brown" Thanks

  13. In trying to increase the microbial level of the compost, I store my vegetable peels in a 5L bucket, add some water and place it in an area of my garden where that receives about 7-8 hours of Sun a day. After a few days, I open the bucket just to aerate it and mix up the decomposing matter (it smells quite bad at this point because of the decomposing process). Then a week or so I incorporate it into my compost heap with all the other 'brown' material. I find that this works waaaaaaay faster than the traditional way of composting, which I assume is because of the influx of the microbes from the bucket.

  14. Nice Concept..!Untreated waste is a major source of pollution worldwide. Recycling your waste helps to keep the environment safe and Green.Compost your Organic Waste in just 20 Hours – FOOD WASTE REDUCTION. Manage your Kitchen Waste and Leftover Meal and Organic Waste. Website : Email : [email protected] video Link : #wastemanagement #composting #bhor #bhorengineering #organicwasteconverter

  15. So whats best?………..compost heap in wooden box open to elements or buy black plastic bin with lid.
    and for leaf mold?……in black plastic bags,or in wire cage open to weather.

  16. Great video. New to composting and allotmenting. We have loads of green but not much brown. Any tips on getting more into the mix? We don’t have a shredder but there are loads of woods near by!

  17. You can add some garden soil once in a while to introduce microorganisms. A handful of woodash once in a while is a good source of minerals.

  18. Can I ask a question?Should we use Orange or lemon shells?some say the are acidic and we shouldn use and some say we can use.thank you

  19. One day i will find someone who actually knows what they are talking about.
    Not just repeating the common thread of all know little or nothing experts. The comments always show the damage these so called experts are doing.

  20. The suggested ratio of carbon and nitrogen is 30:1, carbon being 30, and nitrogen being 1. In your video you made a mistake of putting the "Greens" under the 30 ratio, and the "Browns" under the 1 ratio, which is completely wrong. It should be reversed, since the "Browns" are having the high carbon content as opposed to the "Greens", that are the high nitrogen content material. Otherwise good video.

  21. If anyone can answer me please.. Can we add fresh greens & browns to the compost that is currently in the cooking process? Please

  22. Very good and easy to understand video! I will start my first compost bin soon and am already collecting browns! Thank you so much 🙂

  23. Or, just cut large holes in buckets and bury them in your garden beds. Pour any food waste or other organic material directly into it. Even without buying any Red Wiggler worms to add to this…regular Earth worms are thriving on this and spreading throughout my beds weaving in their priceless worm casting everywhere. Here is an example of what I do, though I do put bigger holes in my buckets. You just want a strong skeletal structure, and holes not big enough for your dirt to come pouring into the sides. Here is an example of what I do, though I do put bigger holes in my buckets. You just want a strong skeletal structure, and holes not big enough for your dirt to come pouring into the sides. I am in an area with a lot of clay in the soil, so I don't have to worry abut that so much.
    I am also creating big heeps of stuff to break down, but I am now just putting straw bales around these piles. I am doing no maintenance on them, besides watering them when there has not been any rain for a while, and putting a black tarp over it once in a while to produce heat to help it break down faster. I am also using this organic material in layers in the "lasagna" method surrounded by straw bale beds. After one Winter, they are ready to be planted in (with the nitrogen loving veggies only until the following year). No more stirring compost for me.

  24. So glad I watched this. It is a great how to on composting. My question is do I need to turn it every day and do I need to cover it? I'm in northern AZ where it goes down into the 30s at night and 50s during the day. And last question, are citrus rinds ok, one video said no because it will keep worms away. I don't have worms in my soil (high desert) .

  25. You are not an authority on compost. Just put of the stuff in a pile. Cover the compost pile with plastic. Weight down the edges of the plastic covering the compost pile so it is air tight. In 3 days remove plastic turn compost over and slightly water. Cover for another 2 – 3 days. In 3 days the sun will have cooked the compost killing the weed seed and breaking down high nitrogen. The compost now will smell like sweet earth.!! Amen Come visit me at https://www,

  26. What is shredded paper considered can news paper and shredded paper be considered browns? I have a Guinea pig but not really a lot of browns since I have no trees I have no leaves. So I would be using my Guinea pigs bedding and was looking for another brown to use along with card board

  27. I'm new to gardening this will be my second yr trying. One of the questions I have is, is the compost you make the same as using cow manure? And how is mushroom compost made and is it the same as using manure. Thank you sorry for asking questions that others may think are common sense I've learned that it's best to ask then to guess. I'm containers gardening because of my bad back but I've spent a good penny on soil and had to throw all last yrs away because I got mosaic disease and didnt want to chance having it this yr and that's 400$ on peat moss and manure and perlite and the bags of potting mix you get between that so I think my question are need to know since I'm disabled and have limited finance. What do ppl do when they get this kind of stuff in there gardens or raised beds? Thanks ahead of time for answering these questions

  28. Note to people who make videos like this: Emulate the way this guy does it. Show what you are describing, not your face. Use clear graphics. Keep it under ten minutes (you can always link to extended versions). Good job.

  29. Thank you for an informative video. My compost bin has produce a soggy mess as I have used mainly grass clippings. Can I save what is already in there or should I get rid of it and start again. I have lots of cardboard boxes to either burn or compost, would they help xx

  30. I always throw bark from wood I split for my wood stove into my compost and corn stalks from nearby corn fields into my compost too for brown materials and just open up my compost tumbler when it rains to water it, works pretty letting the rain water your compost for you

  31. Fantastic video. Simple, understandable, straight forward guide, which is invaluable for me. Thank you.

  32. Very well executed instructional video. We just collected our composter from the local council. I got wood shavings, not sawdust from a local carpenter. Is this good enough for browns?

  33. Can I add stuffs into the compost everyday ?have this doubt because when we add it and shuffle it, old and new ,how will we get a finished compost after few months?

  34. For how long can compost be stored?

    And dried up put into bags, can that be done for later use or it becomes ineffective?

  35. This is by far the best and most informative composting video I’ve seen on YouTube. Thank you very much.

  36. На рынке продавцы ,зная что я делаю компост,предлагают ящики испорченных овощей.Но в этом году я отказываюсь ,тк травы много и мне хватает.А ещё я заметила что овощи по питательности не превосходят траву.Так зачем мне с рынка везти ,тратить силы и время.

  37. My compost pile is mainly grass clipping and fallen leaves. Should the top be covered or left open to the weather, I live in Australia's coastal region where rain is fairly intermittent. I had a separate plastic compost bin which after six years had barely started to work.
    Should ash from garden waste fires be added to the bin?

  38. what is 30 carbon (brown material) to 1 Nitrogen (green) yet it is 3 brown to 1 green?
    anyone? I mean saying 30 to 1 make it confusing for beginners when in the end it is 2 or 3 part of brown to 1 part of green.. am I missing something? Great and simple video though.Thanks I liked

  39. I do composting, but I wonder how much is lost if I only add the clipping and kitchen green scraps directly into the soil.. if I lose 30% or even 50% of its potential I would not mind it because it is easier than working the compost.. any idea?

  40. I only like videos with the American Duche showing his face, in sunglasses and baseball cap, talking with his hands like he was a professional.

  41. From my experience a majority of greens keep the pile heated . I have never experienced the slimy mess phenomenon damp mowed grass will dry out and crumble to dust within two weeks . I compact the pile as best I can. And cover the pile with plastic sheeting or fiberglass insulation . Which allows the top of the pile to heat.

    I tried turning the piles every other day, because of all the talk about aeration. The I think the piles do far better w/o to much air and water. .

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