C:N Ratios for Commonly Available Materials

This is the fourth post in the backyard composting series.

When building a compost pile, taking the carbon and nitrogen ratios of the materials you are adding is important to achieve thermophilic composting. Here is a quick reference guide for readily available organic material.

Common Compost Materials And Their Corresponding C:N Ratio

Browns = High Carbon C:N

Ashes, wood 25:1 (better in limited qty in our soils due to our alkalinity)
Cardboard, shredded 350:1
Corn stalks 75:1
Dry Leaves 150:1
Newspaper, shredded 250:1
Peanut shells 35:1
Pine needles 80:1
Sawdust 500:1
Straw 75:1
Wood chips 400:1

Greens = High Nitrogen C:N

Alfalfa 12:1
Clover 23:1
Coffee grounds 20:1
Food waste 20:1
Grass clippings 25:1
Hay 25:1
Manures 15:1
Weeds 25:1
Vegetable scraps 25:1

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