Green, Nitrogen Materials For Composting

  • Alfalfa
  • Clover
  • Coffee grounds
  • Food waste
  • Garden waste
  • Grass clippings
  • Hay
  • Manures
  • Seaweed
  • Vegetable scraps
  • Weeds

When you think of composting in your kitchen, do you think of finishing your meal and tossing the scraps into a small bin instead of down the drain or into the garbage? Composting leftover food is a great way to help save the earth, and it also gives you a natural fertilizer for your home garden or yard.

Composting at home is pretty straight forward. There are four necessary elements for a healthy compost mixture: nitrogen, carbon, air, and circulation. The carbon elements are also known as brown materials, which are a collection of dry pieces that provide energy to the compost pile. Air gives the pile the oxygen it needs to breed the microorganisms, and circulation keeps everything moving along at a steady pace. The nitrogen materials are the fresh organic items that fuel the rest of the composting process.

How Green, Nitrogen Materials Fuel Compost

These green materials are rich in nitrogen, which acts as the protein source for a compost pile. The brown, carbon materials use the green, nitrogen materials to fuel the decomposition of the pile. Without the nitrogen, the brown materials would sit in a pile by themselves and never turn into nutrient-rich soil. Nitrogen is a valuable element for future growth.

However, there is such a thing as too much nitrogen. In fact, a healthy compost pile consists of only 3 percent nitrogen materials. If there is excess nitrogen, the carbon materials cannot decompose quick enough, which allows some of the nitrogen to escape into the atmosphere in the form of ammonia gas. This ammonia gas releases quite a pungent odor. You’ll know if you have an excess of nitrogen materials if your compost pile reeks like rotten eggs.

It’s Easy To Provide The Nitrogen Source

When it comes to making your own compost, Earth 2 Earth provides the rotating compost bin and a package of brown, carbon materials to get you started. Of course the air is free, and you’ll contribute the green, nitrogen materials yourself.

The aforementioned list of green materials is just a glimpse to get you started. However, there are also things you should not compost:

  • Bones
  • Citrus Peels
  • Dairy
  • Fat
  • Skin
  • Fish
  • Grease
  • Meat
  • Oils
  • Onions
  • Pet Poop
  • Treated Paper
  • Sticky Labels
  • Synthetic Fertilizer

Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but it includes some of the most popular household items. It’s good to avoid these because they may not be biodegradable or may contain synthetic chemicals you don’t want to put back into the earth.

Therefore, if you avoid the list here and collect your own nitrogen materials to put in your compost pile (adhering to the 25-30:1 Carbon:Nitrogen ratio), you will have yourself a healthy compost pile.

Short And Sweet

Nitrogen materials are the fresh organic items usually found in your kitchen that should be added to the compost pile in a ratio of 25-30:1 carbon to nitrogen materials. Too many nitrogen materials can lead to a stinky pile while too few can prevent the decomposition process from happening at all.