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Composting

Step three: Troubleshooting common composting problems.
  

When composting, resident sometimes experience one or more issues, many of which can be solved by following this simple troubleshooting guide.

If Your Compost System is Producing an Odor

Amonia Smell – Too Much Nitrogen (Green Matter) in Compost System

  • Aerate yard materials
  • Add more carbon (brown material)

Putrid Smell – Pile is Too Wet or Not Receiving Enough Oxygen

  • Aerate yard materials
  • Add extra dry carbon (brown material) to absorb excessive moisture
  • Avoid adding water to yard materials

If Your Compost System is Not Heating Up

Too Wet – Yard Materials Are Soggy

  • Aerate yard materials
  • Add extra dry carbon (brown material) to absorb excessive moisture
  • Avoid adding water to yard materials

Too Dry – Yard Materials Are Brittle and Dusty

  • Moisten pile to the consistency of a wrung-out sponge
  • Add nitrogen (green material)

If Your Yard Materials Are Not Decomposing

  • Aerate yard materials regularly
  • Add more yard materials – large volumes can speed up decomposition on the bottom of the pile
  • Add moisture to the pile – yard materials should be the consistency of a wrung-out sponge
  • Chop and shred large items, making it easier for bacteria to break the materials down
  • Move the compost system in the sun for at least part of the day – heat will speed up the process

Next step: Using Your Finished Compost

Revised March 24, 2014

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