Problem: The compost pile does not heat up or appear to be decomposing
There are several things that can stall or slow down the composting process. While heat does speed composting, it is not necessary. Check your compost pile for one of these conditions.
- If the compost is too wet: Turn the pile and add dry, coarse material such as leaves or wood chips.
- If the compost is too dry: Add enough water to make it moist as a wrung out sponge.
- If the compost pile is moist, but isn't decomposing: Your compost contains too much "brown" and not enough "green" material. Turn the pile and add nitrogen-rich material such as manure (not pest waste) or grass clippings.
- If the compost is damp and warm in the middle but nowhere else: The pile is probably too small. Mix more material and a little water into the pile. It's also possible that your compost may be finished; if it's dark and crumbly with an earthy smell, it's done and ready to use in your garden.
Problem: Pests are living in or near your compost pile
Rats, raccoons, insects and other pests may be attracted to meat, pet waste or fatty food scraps or too much fruit and vegetable material. Remove pet waste, meat, fatty food or excess food scraps from the pile. Add more “brown” (dry woody) materials and turn the pile. Most importantly, use a rodent-resistant compost bin.
Problem: Compost smells rotten
Your compost is too wet and is not getting enough air or has meat or pet waste. Remove the offending material and/or add dry, absorbent material like leaves or wood chips and turn pile to mix.