Having a nice high nitrogen starter is always a bonus. Chicken manure is the best although any manure will do, I shy away from horse doo though as it contains weed seeds and if you don't get your pile up to a high enough temperature they won't be killed. A great source that is nearly always overlooked, is human pee. Its sterile, is high in nitrogen, the first pee of the day contains growth hormones which is why grandads lemon tree gave such great fruit. I'll leave it up to you how you get it onto your compost heap !
Someone may correct me but I have found this to be true.
I live next to a park and when it is mown, about 3 times a year, I wait a day then collect as much of the clippings as I can. I don't always have lots of browns to add to the pile, but I've found that by waiting a day, the top layer of clippings dries out and turns brown (ish ), the lower layers remain green and hold moisture . I build a pile up, normally a meter cubed adding chicken manure and litter as I go, and a handful of soil every so often. It has never failed to get hot, too hot most times to put your hand in. I believe the secret is in the layering, I always fluff it up so that air is right through the pile, and I rarely add water, there seems to be enough released as the pile rots.
As I live next to the park I know that the grass isn't sprayed, if it was, I wouldn't use it.
HI, great advice here - cool. I would add one thing, if you add lime to your compost you will lose more nitrogen to the atmosphere, as a higher pH in your compost will create good conditions for ammonia production (NH3). I never add lime to the compost bin for this reason. Cheers, Ingrid
Good point Ingrid we were told the same thing at our Organic gardening class.
Although organic producers and gardeners swear by compost I havent seen much scientific research on the topic. Masanobu Fukuoka (The One Straw Revolution), who farmed organic rice without ploughing for 40 years, maintained that composting contributed no more than sheet mulching and may even be detrimental. Its an interesting point when you consider your work as an input, because compost has to be assembled, turned and then spread, whereas sheet mulch just has to be spread. I get lawn clippings dropped off by several contractors. It saves them paying tipping fees to the compost manufacturer and I just wheelbarrow it into the orchard. I also sheet mulch seaweed I collect after a storm and add coffee grounds from a local cafe plus lime, dolomite, gypsum, urine, blood and bone and what manure I get from the chooks. I read recently that aged compost contains very little nitrogen, but no science was cited.