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Secure a Brown Source

Kompost Kids may be able to help you secure a brown source with the help of your local municipality. Brown source security is essential for making sure your food contributions are properly covered and maintaining a proper balance of carbon- and nitrogen-rich material. Brown sources are materials such as leaves, wood chips, hay, straw, shredded nonglossy paper, sawdust from untreated wood, and shredded cardboard.

Identify your brown source with a sign. Kompost Kids has brown source signs available for free. Your brown source can change depending on the season. A sign helps ensure flexibility as to where and what your brown source will be. Brown sources tend to accumulate in the fall, so it’s important to plan ahead and make sure your supply is adequate to see you through spring and summer composting seasons, when green sources are abundant.

Not all brown sources are created equal. Straw and hay are very good at keeping air in a compost pile, but if overused, will tend to mat in layers. Leaves are a great source of deep-soil minerals and nutrients, but tend to decay slowly (especially oak leaves). Wood chips should be used lightly, as they are high in lignin and break down extremely slowly. Pine needles can be used, but sparingly as they are very acidic and break down slowly. Whatever you end up with, learn to use the appropriate ratio of brown to green and make adjustments as necessary.

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