Troubleshooting Compost Problems

Problems can occur if conditions are unfavorable.
Some of the most common composting problems:

  • Bad odors indicate that there is not enough air in your pile make more air holes in your pile, or turn the pile, or start a new one.
  • Center of the pile is dry means there is not enough water in your pile. Make more air holes, and fill them with water, and the water will disperse throughout the pile. You can also water the pile as you turn it.
  • Pile is damp, but only warm in the middle indicates that your pile is too small. Increase the size of your pile to at least four feet high and four feet wide.
  • Pile is damp and sweet smelling, but remains cool indicates a lack of nitrogen, not enough green matter (like grass clippings) or manure. Cover the pile with black plastic for a few days, but be careful not to cook all your microbes. The pile also may need more water.

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The book that started a backyard worm revolution! With more than 150,000 copies sold, this is the bestselling and remains the definitive guide to vermicomposting--a process using red worms to recycle human food waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer for plants. Author Mary Appelhof provides complete illustrated instructions on setting up and maintaining small-scale worm composting systems. Read More...

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