Return to the Soil Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna gardening

Posted by beausgrrl 5a nh (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 27, 10 at 15:07

Hi all,
I've searched and searched but can't seem to find a clear answer.. maybe there isn't one? Is compost (completed) and composted manure considered a green or a brown when used as a layer in lasagna style gardening? I am thinking it is a brown since it's been through the process and is now composted?

Thanks for your input.

-Tracey


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

  • Posted by pt03 3 Southern Manitoba (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 27, 10 at 15:27

Hey, good question! I don't think I've seen it before!!

Based solely on numbers, anything under a 30:1 C:N ratio would be considered a 'green'. As most finished and completely cured compost is usually well under the 30:1, compost might be a considered green.

Having said that, the digestibility of completely cured compost isn't all that great, so I'm gonna say, treat such a finished compost as a neutral in the ratio department.

But I stand to be corrected.

Lloyd

Disclaimer, not a gardener, never built a real lasagna garden.


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Thanks Lloyd,
That's what I was leaning toward.... I'm not going to be getting fresh manure so was hoping composted would be same but didn't think it was. :) I have used coffee grounds to use as well so that will be good enough with the blood meal I will be buying... we'll see. :)


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Speaking purely about what I understand regarding the science behind the composting process (and please forgive me if I miss elements, I am a physical science guy, not a "life" science guy), the best way to consider finished compost *must* be as a neutral. The 30:1 ratio is how much carbon material is needed by the organisms that break down the material for every unit of nitrogen. If the mix is higher, it goes slower, because the organisms take much longer to pull the nitrogen from the atmosphere, than available materials.

So, since the compost is finished there is nothing available for the organisms to use or for it to be broken down any further. Therefore, it offers nothing to the process, except for the potential extra organisms that might help to break down the other materials faster. (Think of the finished compost as an inoculant for the mix, but not a real part of the mix.)


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Thanks eaglesgarden - that makes sense. We just started getting this awesome compost from University of NH called U Doo. Since the bags contain lots of earthworms that would make it a good inoculant as well... I think I am over thinking and researching and need to get out and start once I get all the materials. :)


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Since not all of the original vegetative waste added to a compost pile is digested there will be some organic matter in finished compost, as well as some Nitrogen. Just how much depends on several factore but as a rule finished compost would be a "green", or Nitrogen source for your garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: Analysis of one sample of finished compost


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Thanks kimmsr - I like that answer! The U-Doo that I'm using is made at a compost setup at the university using the school's food scraps composted with the university farm manure, woodshavings, and some local restaurant scraps as well so it sounds like it's "well-rounded".

Since compost is considered a green/nitrogen source does that also mean that composted manure is a green too?


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Manures, because of the C:N ratio, are always considered a "green".


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Great, thanks again kimmsr - so even when it's composted, manure is a green... :)


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

  • Posted by pt03 3 Southern Manitoba (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 29, 10 at 15:11

Absolute pure manure without any bedding material is more than likely a green. Add any bedding and it may become a 'brown' or it may be a perfect 30:1.

I still say treat anything completely composted and cured as a neutral, it will not act as a 'green'.

Lloyd


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Ok, thanks everyone for your input. If I'm going to treat compost and composted manure as a neutral can I use it as a brown or should it be treated as an "extra" to browns and greens?


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

If you are treating it as a neutral, which I would suggest is the best option, you would do your calculations/amendments ignoring the compost. So, in the process of creating your mix, let's say you had 1 part finished compost, 1 part "green" at 20:1, and 1 part "brown" 40:1, then you should get a near perfect 30:1 mix.

You would find the C:N ratio by averaging by taking the weighted average of the "green" and "brown" but ignore the finished compost component, because while it still has some organics that will break down, the majority of it is already done.


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Thanks...Well, ended up doing my own experiment after all my inquiries and research because I didn't have nearly enough ingredients to do the layers needed. I appreciate the input and clarifications though. :) I planted the front of my house where we had old overgrown shrubs removed (but stumps were left underground - what fun to work with). Of course I did all this planting up to about a week ago and then decided to lasagna style around the plantings (no walkway/paths - another fun challenge). So, I ended up doing wet newspaper layers around plants and over entire garden area, very sparse layer of old, dried out crabapple leaves, layer of compost with earthworms, layer of starbucks coffee grounds, layer of agway composted manure and then a layer of agway natural cedar mulch. This is all on a slope that I basically destroyed over the course of the summer by pre-weeding and causing newbie 101 gardening mistake of erosion waiting to happen. I only plan to add one more plant to this area and will just see how the soil underneath looks next year. I plan to water the area I lasagna'd so it won't dry out as it's on the south facing side of our house and gets lots of hot sun. Another thing I did was plant whatever my mom and I liked and now get to try to water what likes water and leave others to dry out partially (lavender). So, I planted: mugo pine-mops, 2 sets of monarda, lavender, blue fescue, silver mound-artemesia, hardy hibiscus, cheddar pinks, 2 whooly creeping thyme that are already on their way out, and today will add the dragonhead we just had to get after going to a talk at unconoonuk mt nursery the other weekend and loving the look of the plant. It will be interesting to see what makes it for the season/winter and into next year. If I don't over water them it will be amazing as I am one of those types and my mom is an underwaterer. Actually I'm working on the just-right watering type of gardener. This summer just had to be a scorcher with humidity to make it even more confusing. :)

Sorry for the babble! :)


 o
RE: compost and composted manure green or brown for lasagna garde

Hi beausgrrl, How did it work?


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Soil Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here