Thursday 16 June 2011

Compost Standstill: What to do?

I am a student of compost.  A student who last week was failing the class.  It didn't matter that I LOVED this class, I was just missing something.

As I previously wrote about here, I love to compost.  However, last week my compost was at a standstill.  From the information I have read, and class I attended, compost should be a nice, moist, warm pile of action.  When I opened my composter, however, all that greeted me was a dried up pile...picture, if you will, a mouth full of soda crackers.  THAT dry.  If you are having a similar problem with your compost, let's break down what the issues could be:

1) Your compost is too dry causing microorganism activity to halt.
-Add water to your compost (without soaking) and mix your pile to help the water permeate the layers.
- Your compost may be in too much sunlight, causing it to dry out too quickly.  Move it into the a slightly more shady area 
-Soak your browns (carbons) before adding them to your pile to increase the moisture content
-Cover ventilation holes to decrease excessive airflow

2) You are adding to many browns (carbons)
-it's easy to add to many browns because at certain times of the year (Autumn) they are most readily available.  Just remember that when you add browns, you need to be adding approximately the same amount of greens.  So to counteract too many browns...add more greens!  Grab some grass clippings, apple peels, or past due veggies, and toss 'em on in!

These are just a couple of ideas on changes to try to get your compost moving again.  Since I started writing this post last week and trying some of these options, my compost has made quite a recovery!  If you have any questions on trouble with your compost, post 'em below and we'll try brainstorm some ideas for you! 

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