Compost Troubleshooting Guide

Let's face it, sometimes things happen! If you have a problem with your composte pile or bin,
here are some of the causes and cures.
PROBLEM
CAUSE
CURE
Foul odor
Too wet Mix pile several times or add coarse dry materials (straw, sawdust or chips) and mix
Not enough air Mix pile or add coarser materials and mix
Too much nitrogen Add more brown (high carbon) materials and mix
Pile not heating
(Standard and fast methods only)
Pile too small or cold weather Building larger pile or use an insulated compost bin
Too dry Mix pile and moisten each layer
Poor aeration Mix pile
Not enough nitrogen Add more green (high nitrogen) materials and mix
Materials too coarse Chop or shred coarse materials
Pile too hot (more than 140 degrees)
Pile too large Build a smaller pile
Not enough ventilation Mix pile
Attracting Animal or Insect Pests
Wrong materials used in pile Remove all meat and dairy products
Kitchen waste on pile surface Bury kitchen waste in pile; mix pile or when using Slow Method, enclose in pest proof bin
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