Common Composting Problems & Cures

As easy as composting can be, there are some common problems that may hinder your composting experience.  The following is a list of common composting problems, causes and solutions:

PROBLEM

CAUSE

SOLUTION

Pile smells rotten and/or attracts flies.

Too wet and/or non-compostables are present.

Turn, add dry-woody materials, cover pile from heavy rains and/or remove grease, etc. and turn.

Compost is damp and warm only in the middle.

Pile too small.

Get more material, mix old ingredients into a new pile.

Pile not composting.

Too dry and/or too much dry-woody material.

Moisten till slightly damp and/or turn, add fresh green materials or organic nitrogen fertilizer.

Pile is damp and sweet-smelling but won't heat up.

Lack of nitrogen.

Mix in nitrogen source such as fresh grass clippings, fresh manure, bloodmeal or ammonium sulfate.

Rodents in pile.

Food wastes in open bin, holes larger than 1/4 inch or non-compostables present.

Turn compost and rodent-proof your bin and remove meat, grease, etc. and turn.