Here are some common problems and simple solutions to make composting a success.

Smelly compost?

  • Your compost can get smelly if it is too wet or if there is not enough air in it.

Quick fix: Turn the compost regularly to get air into it and ensure that there is good drainage. Add dry leaves or garden mulch to dry it out. Add saw dust or newspaper to your food waste before adding it to the compost.

Little critters?

  • Some insects and small animals like ants, cockroaches, mice or rats may make their home in your compost.

Quick fix: Cover compost with hessian cloth or jute. Place some chicken wire under the bin and add wood ash to green organics to keep out small animals. Turn the compost regularly and add moisture to discourage ants and cockroaches.

Compost too soggy or too dry and dusty?

  • Depending on the season or where you live, your compost might get either too wet or too dry. If your compost is slow to mature, it might not be hot enough, or there might not be enough air or water in it.

Quick fix: If your compost is soggy, place a lid or a tarp over it to keep rain out and fluff it up to get some air in. Add some more of the fresh, green, nitrogen-rich organics to heat it up and remove the moisture. If your compost is dry and dusty, turn the compost and add some water to make sure it is moist enough.

Plants growing in your compost?

  • If weeds or even vegetables are sprouting in your compost, it might not be hot enough to kill all the seeds it contains.

Quick fix: Pull out the weeds and toss them back in. Warm up your compost by adding some more green nitrogen-rich organics like shellfish shells and fibrous materials like corn cobs or sawdust. Your pile should heat up within a few days. Keep it hot by turning it every week or two.