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Thread: compost help

  1. #1
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    compost help

    HI all, I have compost again! I moved in with a friend with a wonderful garden and a compost bin. It is in a large trash can with some holes drilled in the side. She said last year it was so foul smelling when she put it on the garden in fall that she almost threw up. I notice that she puts the kitchen items in but no 'dry layer' in. I used to layer kitchen scraps with something like dry leaves, dry grass clippings or even shredded paper. I am thinking about slowly moving it to the second bin while layering with some of the dry leaves we have in the yard.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    DH composts everything but it doesnt appear to me to be especially well rotted. There are always stringy things in it, and it often contains slimy parts. So sorry, dont have advice.

  3. #3
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Gotta have the dry stuff!

    You really need to diagnose why the compost-to-be is so wet -- the right items (e. g., no dairy or meat/fish), not enough dries, not enough air circulating ("some holes drilled in the side" may not be enough), etc. Moving the compost to another bin while you layer it is a good idea; if nothing else it aerates what's there at least a little. You might want to throw extra leaves/newspaper/grass clipping into the second bin to compensate for how overly wet the current material is. You also might want to pulverize the dry material (crush the tree leaves, shred the paper) to expose more dry material to the kitchen scraps.

    Oh, word of advice: those biodegradable bags they sell for kitchen composters and even food storage? My experience is that they degrade, but very slowly. I empty the bag in the bin (spreads it out a little more than leaving it in a lump in the bag) and then throw in the bag. If it doesn't compost completely by the time I use it, it's easier to pick them out of the mix than a bag with lots of holes and half-composted stuff oozing out of it. I'd go without the bags but that makes cleaning the kitchen composter a considerable mess.
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  4. #4
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    Awesome, thanks steve. A lot of what i was thinking and some good info

  5. #5
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    I have a 2-bin system. A pitchfork comes in handy when turning (aerating, as Steve would say) in bin #1, every couple of weeks... also when transferring compost from bin #1 to #2, and when finally removing finished compost from bin #2. Steve mentioned keeping dairy, meat, and fish waste out... I would add eggs to that list.


    The linked article goes into some detail about the greens and browns. The Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio explains a lot.

    http://homecompostingmadeeasy.com/ca...ogenratio.html

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    You have to have at least 50% "browns" (carbon) to 50% "greens" (nitrogen) to keep it from getting stinky. You can use grass clippings, torn up newspaper, mulch or mulched leaves, torn up egg cartons, sawdust, wood ash. You really need to run the lawn mower over the leaves before you put them in. The people we bought our house from conveniently put a whole barrel of sawdust right next to the compost barrel, so I typically throw in a couple of scoops every time I put my kitchen scraps in.

    Actually, they told us in my MG class that you need 70% browns, but that's hard to achieve. 50% has kept my compost from stinking
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  7. #7
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    You might also need to run a plastic pipe down the center with holes drilled for extra air. Is the lid on or off? I keep my compost in pallet bins, no cover. It seems ok, I usually always add brown/green as I go.

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    Good idea float, I could add that as I transfer it over. There is a loose lid on top right now.

  9. #9
    Senior Member lhamo's Avatar
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    Be aware that rats can be a big problem with urban composting. We have a huge rat problem in our neighborhood because we have lots of steep, uninhabited hills covered with invasive plants like ivy, bindweed, and blackberries that they can hide in. I therefore send all our compostables off in the yard waste bin -- the city delivers them to a composting facility.
    "Seek out habits that help you overcome fear or inertia. Destroy those that do the opposite." Seth Godin

  10. #10
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    I just started transferring and it literally smells like poop. Like really stinky,slimy poop. I have a lot of dry leaves in the yard to start layering, but i was gagging. Also it seems like maggots instead of worms.

    I would love to get over 50% browns at this point, anything to conquer the smell

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