You need to add organic waste in the right ratio to get perfect composting results. Compostable materials are divided into browns and greens and must be added carefully. This article discusses everything you need to know about composting ratio and how it affects the process.
Carbon to Nitrogen Ratio
Carbon and nitrogen are both needed for the creation of a perfect compost. Carbon provides energy for composting microorganisms and nitrogen is needed for protein production, growth, and reproduction. Carbon makes the compost light and soft. The brown materials are rich in carbon content, and green materials have a high proportion of nitrogen.
Many experts have defined the ideal ratio as a 30:1 carbon to nitrogen ratio. It does not mean that you have to add 30 brown parts for one green part. Each organic material has its ratio, and you need to add the materials keeping in mind those ratios. The 30:1 ratio is not fixed and varies 20:1 to 45:1.
The moisture content is another important factor for successful composting. Your pile should be moist and not wet, as extra water can make the process anaerobic and cause a foul smell. Lack of air and excess water can also reduce the composting speed. The water content should be around 50-60%. You can adjust the water content based on pile size, specific materials, and weather conditions. The best way to check the water content is to pinch a handful of compost if it gives 2-3 drops of water; the moisture content is enough for the pile. To mitigate the wet compost bin problem follow these instructions.
The oxygen content should be more than 5% in any condition. Aerobic composting needs a large amount of oxygen during all stages of composting. The best way to ensure enough oxygen supply is to turn the pile and keep the lid open for a while every day.
Waste Material Size
The size of the waste material you are adding also impacts the speed and quality of the composting process. It is recommended to always add carbon materials in shredded form and food scrapes in small pieces. Small particle size increases the surface area and helps the microorganisms to decompose organic waste quickly.
The two main stages of composting are the mesophilic stage and the thermophilic stage. The temperature range for these stages is 50-105°F and over 150°F, respectively. It is better if the temperature range stays between 110°-150° F. turning and rotating the compost pile helps in maintaining this temperature range.
An appropriate pH is needed for microorganisms to work on organic matter and decompose it. The ideal range is 6.5 to 8. Little variations in this range do not hurt the process, and it can tolerate a range of 5.5-9. pH range is maintained by the addition of correct amounts of brown and green matter.