Question: Does Your Compost Pile Smell?comments (7) December 31st, 2010
Answer: It shouldn't. Okay, the more accurate answer is that it might smell if something is out of balance in there.
Chances are that the problem lies in one of three places:
- Did you add the wrong food stuffs like meat, fish, dairy, eggs, or grease? If it’s possible to remove these items, do so; otherwise, simply turn the smelly stuff into the pile and cover it with organic material.
- Did you add a thick pile of grass clippings the last time you mowed your lawn? If so, get some carbon sources like leaves or newspaper and mix them into the wet grass clumps.
- Is the pile sitting in an area that gathers all the rain/water run-off? If your pile is a wet, soggy mess, then you have too much water or greens (nitrogen) in there. The first thing you need to do in this case is aerate the pile by turning it and letting it get some oxygen. You probably need to add some browns (carbon), as well. Here’s where newspaper, wood chips, or cardboard can save the day. And back off on adding water for a while.
If you notice that there are some anaerobic pockets (areas that are heavily wet and not getting air) in your compost pile, simply mix them up and add some browns. If the pockets seem past the point where you want to deal with them, you can remove them from the pile.
This is yet another reason that composting is one of my favorite aspects of gardening - they're so utterly adjustable. Compost piles always have an easy fix.
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