|Damp and warm only in the middle of
||Pile could be too small, or cold
weather might have slowed composting
||If you are only composting in piles,
make sure your pile is at least 3 feet high and 3 feet wide. With a bin,
the pile doesn't need to be so large.
|Nothing is happening. Pile doesn't
seem to be heating up at all.
||1. Not enough nitrogen
2. Not enough oxygen
3. Not enough moisture
4. Cold weather?
5. Compost is finished.
|1. Make sure you have enough nitrogen
rich sources like manure, grass clippings or food scraps.
2. Mix up the pile so it can breathe.
3. Mix up the pile and water it with the hose so that there is some
moisture in the pile. A completely dry pile doesn't compost.
4. Wait for spring, cover the pile, or use a bin.
|Matted leaves or grass clippings
||Poor aeration, or lack of moisture.
||Avoid thick layers of just one
material. Too much of something like leaves, paper or grass clippings
don't break down well. Break up the layers and mix up the pile so that
there is a good mix of materials. Shred any big material that isn't
breaking down well.
|Stinks like rancid butter, vinegar or
||Not enough oxygen, or the pile is too
wet, or compacted.
||Mix up the pile so that it gets some
aeration and can breathe. Add course dry materials like straw, hay or
leaves to soak up excess moisture. If smell is too bad, add dry
materials on top and wait until it dries out a bit before you mix the
|Odor like ammonia.
||Not enough carbon.
||Add brown materials like leaves,
straw, hay, shredded newspaper, etc.
|Attracts rodents, flies, or other
||Inappropriate materials (like meat,
oil, bones), or the food-like material is too close to the surface of
||Bury kitchen scraps near the center of
the pile. Don't add inappropriate materials to compost. Switch to a
rodent-proof closed bin.
|Attracts insects, millipedes, slugs,
||This is normal composting, and part of
the natural process.
||Not a problem.
|Fire ant problems.
||Pile could be too dry, not hot enough,
or has kitchen scraps too close to the surface.
||Make sure your pile has a good mix of
materials to heat up, and keep it moist enough.