Flour in the compost?

bethany_gardenerOctober 9, 2009

I am relatively new to composting. I've only finished about one batch before (and am so excited about it! I got about five gallons worth on my first shot! I even took pictures of it.) So I've never composted anything unusual before. Recently my food cabinet has had an infestation of weevils. The flour, rice and cereal are done for. My question is this: Are these things greens or browns?

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bpgreen(5UT)

Greens. I used to think they were browns because they're considered carbohydrates as people food, but somebody pointed out to me that if grains (like wheat and corn) are greens, then flour, cereal, etc must also be greens.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 8:35PM
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valerie_ru(Russia)

Flours are different. Some of them like rye flour may be considered as browns because of higher carbohydrates content. Put flour in the water and wait. If it stinks after 2 days then it is greens else it is browns. Rye flour in the water gives after some time milky water made by lactic bacteria. They decompose carbohydrates and produce lactic acid. It is very usefull stuff in the garden for sprinkling plants. Flyes don't like it and fly away. It can help also with many pests and decease problems. It is also exelent plant food through the leaves.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 3:36AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

When milling some grains into flour some 21 nutrients are removed by the process and a bit later 10 of them are put back in and the flour is called enriched. If what you have is that "enriched" flour and not while grain then consider it a brown.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 6:54AM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

size of bin is the only thing that really matters with these items sounds like yours isn't huge so just put a little in at a time if you were to put so much in that it could upset the green brown balance it might get kinda goooy and stinky with flour and cereal

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 12:51PM
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bpgreen(5UT)

"21 nutrients are removed by the process and a bit later 10 of them are put back in"

Which 21 are removed and which 10 are replaced?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 10:13PM
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bethany_gardener

Hmmm. Ok then. Thanks for all your answers. I'll simply add them and see what happens though it might not be easy to see much of a difference. My pile is constantly in need of browns so more greens wont show too much of a difference (we have few trees that loose their leaves in the fall out here in the desert)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 10:18PM
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bpgreen(5UT)

"My pile is constantly in need of browns"

I shred just about all the paper that I don't file. Shredded paper doesn't have as many other nutrients as leaves do, but they're a strong carbon/brown source.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 1:37AM
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bethany_gardener

I do that for the most part. I have a box of old school notes that site by the side of the heap but other kinds of browns seem to disappear faster. Seems like the paper has to be really wet for it to do anything at all. I used a tumbleweed once. That was cool.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 5:38PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

Unless you want DOUGH BALLS in your compost, I would consider it NOT suitable for composting. !!! GROSS !!!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 8:00PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

AND,,,I can't imagine for the life of me,,What the heck flour could possibly be good for in any garden. I would throw it in the garbage. What "good" is flour providing for any kind of plant material????

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 8:06PM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

Well flour is made of plants right so it must have plant nutrients in it
Also I have a hard time believing flour would benifit the landfill to much
in moderation most anything that once grew can go in the compost

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 10:45PM
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bpgreen(5UT)

"I do that for the most part. I have a box of old school notes that site by the side of the heap but other kinds of browns seem to disappear faster. Seems like the paper has to be really wet for it to do anything at all. I used a tumbleweed once. That was cool."

Paper is slower than a lot of other things to decompose. It's pretty close to pure cellulose and is hard to break down. If you get it wet first, it helps, especially in desert climates.

I haven't seen a reply from Kimm, so I'll explain why I asked him the question I did. When you want to determine whether something is a "green" or a "brown" you look at the ratio of C to N. If that is above 30:1, it's considered a brown. If it's below 30:1, it's considered a green.

White flour (and white rice, etc) is created by removing the outer hull from a grain (prior to grinding for the flour). The outer hull is primarily cellulose (which has no nitrogen, but does have carbon), but it also contains vitamins and minerals.

I prefer whole wheat to white, and I think it's more nutritious, but removing vitamins, minerals and fiber would not cause the C:N ratio to increase. If anything, that would cause the C:N ratio to decrease (since removing cellulose removes carbon but not nitrogen). So white flour should still be considered a green.

I think Kimm is equating lower nutritional value with lower nitrogen levels, but I think that's a logical leap.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 12:10AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The endosperm in white flour is also removed and that is where most all of the nutrient you would find in flours located. The endosperm is removed because left that would shorten the shelf life of the flour but it also makes that less nutritious for you. In the process the protein (Nitrogen) is also removed in the White "Enriched" Flours.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 8:13AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

They are greens.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 9:42AM
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