Compost Troubleshooting

In the garden

Does something smell funky? Let's fix it.

You’ve learned how easy it is to compost at home, but something smells a little funky. Let’s fix it!

1. My compost smells!

If you just dumped a bunch of smelly old food scraps into the bin, give it a minute to mix with the pile. If your compost smells for some time, it probably needs some air. Turn the pile with a pitchfork or shovel and you should see dramatic improvement. You may also need to experiment with adding more browns to the pile. If you’re adding only nitrogen without enough carbon, the pile will get smelly. Go for a mix of 25% greens 75% browns.

2. The pile won’t heat up.

The pile is most likely too dry. Add some water until the pile is the consistency of a wrung out sponge. If you’re just starting out and have a small pile, it most likely won’t begin heating up until the mass is bigger.

3. The avocado pit I added five years ago is still there.

It’s true. Like cockroaches, they seem to be impervious to even nuclear bombs. I generally do not add those to the pile, but if you must, give it a chop in half first.

4. The finished compost is chunky.

Consider screening your compost. A simple trick is some hardware cloth over a wheelbarrow. This will break up any large chunks and reveal anything else that needs more time.

5. I have questions not listed here.

Get in touch! I’ll add to this post as more questions come in.

Please let me know what you think!
Leave a comment below and tag @growingwithgertie on Instagram.

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