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Common Compost Problems and Solutions

Is your compost pile smelly? Not producing compost fast enough or at all? Damp and cool? These are common problems faced when building a compost pile, but the good news is that they are easy to fix. Listed below are some of the most common problems in a compost pile and their solutions.

Problem: Smelly

Solution: Your compost pile is too wet and is not getting enough oxygen to properly decompose. To help it dry out, you need to add some brown material (such as hay or dry leaves) to the top of the pile. Then rotate the pile, at least once a week, with a pitch fork to get air into the middle of the pile.

Problem: Attracts insects, worms and slugs.

Solution: Do nothing. Insects, worms and slugs are a normal part of the decomposition process.

Problem: Attracts flies, rodents, raccoons and other creatures.

Solution: You have probably added food scraps, such as fish, meat or bones. Avoid adding these items and place other food scrapes near the center of the pile. Put up a wire fence over the pile or switch to a container bin system that has a lid that can be locked into place.

Problem: Grass clippings are not decomposing.

Solution: Avoid adding too thick of a layer of grass or too much grass. Mix in dry leaves and rotate the pile to let oxygen in.

Problem: The compost pile is damp and warm in the middle, but not anywhere else in the pile.

Solution: Your compost pile is too small. When you are composting in a pile, make sure the pile is 3 feet wide and 3 feet high. Composting bins or tumblers don't need to be so large, making them more suitable for the city or small families.

Problem: The compost pile is decomposing most items, but some large items remain.

Solution: Before you put larger items in your compost pile, break them down into smaller pieces. This will give more surface area to the microorganisms that are responsible for decomposing the material in your compost pile.

Problem: The center of the compost pile is dry.

Solution: Add water while rotating the pile. It is important to keep the moisture level just right. Too dry and the materials won't break down properly. Too wet and the pile will start to rot.

Problem: The center of the compost pile is cool or warm, but not hot.

Solution: You need more nitrogen in your compost pile. Add nitrogen rich material such as grass clippings, manure or other green materials. Ensure that any material added is damp. Too dry or wet and the materials won't decompose. Also, when adding grass, make sure that it is in thin layers, so that it will decompose.

For more information on composting and gardening, please visit http://www.thegardenersescape.com/Composting/Composting.htm

Source: www.articlesphere.com