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