My DIY Compost Turns Struggling: Am I Composting Right?

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Your DIY Compost Not Heading?

Compost is no doubt the best organic amendment to add to your garden. Indeed, it enriches the soil, helps retain moisture, and is a good source of nutrition. At the same time reduces the use of chemical fertilizer. But the best thing about composting is when your kitchen waste turns into a useful soil amendment instead of tossing it into landfills. You are indeed helping the prevention of greenhouse gases that drives global climate change, which increases every month. But what if your DIY compost turns bad? What are the signs that your DIY compost is failing? Let’s find out!

Just like any living creature, your compost needs the right balance to thrive. The right combination of carbon, nitrogen, air, and water creates a good environment for the microbes to survive. Microbes are responsible for decomposition and are the ones who help directly with releasing nutrients from organic materials useful for your plants. Additionally, there are thousands of things that are compostable. However, there are a few things that you should not put into your compost pile. Composting is not just tossing everything into your compost pile and expecting an instant result. It also requires constant effort and the right assessment to produce a good product out of your compost.

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What Are The Signs That Your DIY Compost Is Failing?

#1 Too Wet And Smelly

If your compost smells bad it means it is too wet. And too wet compost means an imbalance proportion of “green” and “brown” organic material. What happens here is that you probably put too much “greens” causing it to not get enough air. That is why it produced an unpleasant odor. Remember, healthy compost produces earthy smell humus.

What Should You Do?

  • Make sure to put the right ratio of 2:1 between your “browns” and “greens” to balance out the mix.
  • Loosen the pile to aerate it. And then let it sit for some time before you turn it around.
  • Add more organic material if needed.

#2 Slow Decomposition

Decomposition is slow when the temperature inside the pile is not enough. Hence, this keeps the pile operating at its maximum. And in most cases, the organic materials that you add are too large and bulky. Causing it not to be composted easily.

What Should You Do? 

  • Managed composting involves active participation.
  • Add shredded organic materials to heat up rapidly, decompose quickly, and produce uniform compost.
  • Air circulation is an important element in a compost pile. So occasionally turning your pile is necessary.

Related Topic: “Wet Smelly Compost Bin: How To Fix It?

#3 Not Enough Beneficial Microorganisms

Healthy compost should have beneficial microorganisms visible if you were to turn it over with a pitchfork. Microorganisms break down organic matter and produce carbon dioxide, heat, and water. However, they can not survive in a compost pile overburdened with materials. Moreover, they cannot live in such an oxygen-poor environment.

What Should You Do? 

  • Heat your pile and keep it cooking by turning it in every week or two.
  • Water your dormant pile and don’t let it dry out as those tiny microorganisms use up a lot of water. 
  • Establish compost piles in an area that is accessible to water.
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#4 Unpleasant Physical Appearance

The overall visual appearance of your DIY compost is not a pretty picture. This usually happens when you have a minimum temperature and is also set up at a minimal location where it seldom gets the right amount of sunlight. In addition, the quality of your compost mostly depends on the quality of your organic waste products added to it.

What Should You Do? 

  • It is crucial to monitor your compost pile to get the best results and to preserve a nice visual appearance.
  • You will have to move the compost around at least a few times a week to ensure proper air circulation.
  • You can adjust the composting process to optimize them in the long run.

#5 There Are Many Pests And Other Destructive Animals

Most likely if your compost pile is not well constructed and well managed, it will become a place for so many pests, rats, bugs, and other animals that dwells in your compost for some reason. Especially, if you add organic materials that could trigger these animals to dine in such as oily and greasy products. Also, a drop in temperature in the compost pile can mean that the pile is becoming anaerobic.

Do Not Add In Your Compost:

  • meat and dairy products
  • baked foods
  • acidic fruits and veggies
  • pet and human waste
  • weeds
  • oils or greasy foods
  • sawdust
  • diapers
  • onion and garlic scraps

What Should You Do? 

  • Always keep your compost pile damp enough.
  • Maintain a high temperature of 135° -160° Fahrenheit.
  • Shredding raw materials also provides good temperature distribution and less heat loss.
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Learn From Your Mistakes And Make Your DIY Compost Right This Time

There is no doubt that composting is a great way to get rid of those organic materials out of landfills. And make them useful for garden soil amendment. At the same time, it might take time to get the right compost you need. Yet, practice can make things right. Learning from your experiences and perhaps from others too will surely help you be a successful composter along the way. It is better to evaluate every step you made and take note of the things that did not go well in your compost pile.

Lastly, everyone can participate in composting. And there is a very good reason to start it. However, composting requires an initial investment of your time and effort. Therefore, before you begin composting, make sure that you are committed to finishing what you started. Indeed, the quality of your compost depends on how patient you are to progress. Additionally, always take time to think about the benefits along with the downsides of composting. Whether you’re a beginner or an intense composter, you are on the right track to helping the environment. It’s time to clean up the mess we do to our environment. Begin composting now!

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