QUESTION: What is the ratio of brown to green in compost?
ANSWER: Ideally, your compost materials should consist of 30 parts carbon (“brown” ingredients) to every one part of nitrogen (“green” materials). With less carbon, the extra nitrogen will emanate from the compost as ammonia gas, causing an undesirable ammonia aroma around the area where your compost is kept.
With less nitrogen than the recommended 30:1 ratio, there won’t be enough of the nitrogen to keep the microbes inside the compost thriving and healthy. The result of fewer microbes is compost that doesn’t get hot and doesn’t break down as quickly.