Gardening 101

Composting Troubleshooting: Common Issues And How To Solve Them


Composting is an environmentally friendly way to manage organic waste and produce nutrient-rich soil for your garden. It’s an effective way to minimize household waste while benefiting your green space. However, like any natural process, it has its own set of challenges that might seem daunting to newbies and even seasoned composters. But fear not!

This blog post aims to simplify the art of composting by addressing common issues and providing solutions that work.

1. Compost Not Breaking Down

The most common complaint among composting enthusiasts is that their compost isn’t breaking down as expected.

This could be due to a lack of moisture, inadequate aeration, or an imbalance in the brown (carbon-rich) and green (nitrogen-rich) materials in your compost heap.

To tackle this, ensure your compost bin is equipped for easy aeration. The Jora Composter is an excellent example of a compost bin designed with this in mind. Its dual-chamber design allows you to easily turn your compost, ensuring proper aeration.

Also, try to maintain a good balance of green and brown materials (aim for a 1:2 ratio) and keep your compost pile as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

2. Unpleasant Odors

Compost should have a fresh, earthy smell. If your compost pile starts to smell bad, it could be due to a couple of things – too much green material creating an excess of nitrogen or lack of aeration leading to anaerobic decomposition.

You can solve this by adding more brown materials, such as dry leaves, shredded newspaper, or cardboard, to balance out the green waste. Additionally, turning your compost regularly will aid in aerating the pile and eliminating the odors.

3. Pests Invading Your Compost Pile

Compost piles can sometimes attract unwanted critters like rats, raccoons, and insects. This is often because the compost pile contains kitchen scraps that these pests find appealing.

To deter them, ensure to bury food scraps well within your compost pile, making it less accessible to them. You can also consider using a compost bin with a secure lid. Avoid composting meat, dairy, or cooked food, which are particularly attractive to pests.

4. Compost Is Too Dry

If your compost pile is too dry, it can slow down the decomposition process significantly. A compost pile needs adequate moisture to create an ideal environment for microorganisms to do their work.

Make sure you’re adding enough green material to your pile. These items, such as vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, or grass clippings, have a high water content. If your pile is already too dry, moisten it with some water, but avoid making it too wet – remember the wrung-out sponge analogy.

5. Compost Is Too Wet

On the flip side, an overly wet compost pile can lead to a lack of oxygen and slow decomposition. It may also produce an unpleasant smell.

To rectify a soggy compost pile, add more brown material to absorb some of the excess moisture. Turning the compost pile can also help by integrating the wet and dry material more evenly.

6. Presence Of Large, Undecomposed Items

Sometimes, you may notice large items that don’t seem to decompose in your compost pile. This could be anything from big pieces of wood, corn cobs, avocado pits to thick branches. Their size and density can make it difficult for the microorganisms in your compost pile to break them down effectively.

The solution to this issue is quite straightforward: the smaller the items in your compost pile, the quicker they’ll decompose. So, before adding items to your compost, try to break them down into smaller pieces. Chopping up your kitchen scraps or shredding your garden waste can speed up the composting process considerably. For really hard items like wood or branches, consider using a wood chipper or shredder to reduce them to a more manageable size.

In Conclusion

While composting might seem a little complicated at first glance, with a few adjustments and the right techniques, you can easily overcome common composting issues. Remember that patience is key – composting is a slow process, but the rewards are worth it. With time, you’ll get the hang of it and soon have a steady supply of black gold for your garden. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned composter, keep troubleshooting, keep experimenting, and keep composting!

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