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Really basic green/brown question for newbie

 
Susan Taylor Brown
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Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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Hi all,
I am probably complicating something simple (I do that so very well) but I have not yet done a lot of composting. I understand the need to mix greens and browns.

I understand if I prune a tree and the leaves are still green, then it is a "green" that I am adding to the pile. But if those same leaves fall to the ground and six months later I rake them up and add them to the pile, now the leaves are a brown, right?

So when I get a load of chippings from an arborist (I have been very lucky lately getting some good deliveries of free chips) there are leaves mixed with the chips. How long are those leaves considered to still be "green"

What I am wondering is if I put a layer of this mix of chipped leaves and tree, is that enough of a brown/green but only if I do it while the leaves are still green?

Sigh. So easily confused here. Thanks in advance.

Susan

 
John Elliott
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Susan Taylor Brown wrote: How long are those leaves considered to still be "green" ?


My answer is that I don't care, I am color blind when it comes to loads of wood chips. I'm not into hot composting, trying to break things down bacterially as quickly as possible. I got two loads of chips today, and I will inoculate them with fungi and let time cold compost them naturally. It will take some time, but right now I am digging into the piles of chips that were dumped here two years ago. Scrape off the top few inches of sun-dried wood chips, and there is glorious black humus that I am using to build up my hugelbeds.
 
Susan Taylor Brown
Posts: 142
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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Oh thank you, John. That has sorta been my thoughts as well - I don't care. It seems like a nice mix so I am just rolling with it. In the last month I have had 50 yards of free chips dropped off but I'm not as young as I used to be so it is taking me forever to get them spread out.

I should go read up on how to inoculate with fungi.

Susan

John Elliott wrote:
Susan Taylor Brown wrote: How long are those leaves considered to still be "green" ?


My answer is that I don't care, I am color blind when it comes to loads of wood chips. I'm not into hot composting, trying to break things down bacterially as quickly as possible. I got two loads of chips today, and I will inoculate them with fungi and let time cold compost them naturally. It will take some time, but right now I am digging into the piles of chips that were dumped here two years ago. Scrape off the top few inches of sun-dried wood chips, and there is glorious black humus that I am using to build up my hugelbeds.
 
John Elliott
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Susan Taylor Brown wrote: how to inoculate with fungi.


I understand you've been getting some good rains out in California lately. Go pick anything that has popped up under an oak tree, whiz it in the blender with some water, and pour it on your pile of chips. Oak trees rely on rich mycorrhizal networks underground, the same type of mycorrhiza you would like to encourage in your hugelbeds.
 
Susan Taylor Brown
Posts: 142
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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Oh that is easy. I can do that. We have 4 huge oak trees so I am sure I can find something. Thanks again.
Susan


John Elliott wrote:
Susan Taylor Brown wrote: how to inoculate with fungi.


I understand you've been getting some good rains out in California lately. Go pick anything that has popped up under an oak tree, whiz it in the blender with some water, and pour it on your pile of chips. Oak trees rely on rich mycorrhizal networks underground, the same type of mycorrhiza you would like to encourage in your hugelbeds.
 
steve bossie
Posts: 260
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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i second the fungus idea. mushroom mycelium can compost a pile a lot faster than anything else. oyster mycelium is probably the fastest and if you give your pile some shade you may get some oyster mushrooms to eat!
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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