Homemade Compost Problems

All backyard landscapers will eventually run into problems with their compost piles. Keeping a perfect 25-1 ratio of brown matter vs. green matter, frequent aerating of your compost pile, and keeping moisture at it's ideal level, is the 4 step recipe of making the perfect compost pile. However, if and when problems develop, use this guide as a quick method to help you identify the issue, and resolve the problem.

Smelly compost:

If your pile smells like ammonia, it may contain too much nitrogen. Add carbon materials such as straw, leaves, or hay to correct the balance.

Soggy compost:

Dense or water-logged compost piles donít contain enough oxygen for the microorganisms to survive. Often these piles give off an unpleasant odor. The solution is to aerate the pile and add more dry materials.

Finished compost too rough:

Some materials like eggshells and corncobs take a very long time to break down. If you want a more finely textured compost, shred or chop up the materials before putting them into the bin. You can also sift out these larger particles and throw them into the next pile.

Compost not hot:

Materials in your compost may be too dry. This can happen quickly during the summer. Try to keep your compost materials moist to the touch. Inadequate nitrogen will also slow things down. Replenish the nitrogen content of your pile with fresh green grass clippings, garden weeds, kitchen scraps or an activator like Super Hot Compost Starter or Compost Accelerator. Your pile may also be too small. In this case, collect more materials to help increase the microbial activity.


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