How to improve questionable compost

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There’s a problem in the world of compost

We are always hearing stories about the poor quality of shop-bought compost and complaints about how difficult it is to make decent stuff yourself. The quality of shop-bought has undoubtedly dropped in recent years due to competitive pricing strategies driving down quality, but the fact is compost should never be rushed or made to half measures.

However, rather than to share a ‘how-to’ guide about making great compost, we thought it would be better for us to simply direct you to one that we highly recommend. We suggest this article from Earth Easy, which is particularly detailed and informative.

Instead, this blog is going to talk about how you can solve common problems with your compost if you feel it is low quality or just isn’t quite up to scratch.

 

IT’S TOO WET

Compost can sometimes get too wet for multiple reasons – too much rainfall, not enough aeration, not enough nitrogen rich ingredients among other things. The problem with wet,  dense and damp compost is that it prohibits aeration and consequently oxygen supply to the bacteria that need it to effectively break down the waste materials and produce quality compost.

 

How to fix 

  • Place a tarpaulin loosely over the top to stop any more rainfall getting in.
  • Move the compost around using a pitchfork thoroughly (every 2 weeks)
  • Add nitrogen rich ingredients
  • Add ‘browns’ – carbon rich materials

 

IT’S TOO DRY

Obviously happens when there isn’t enough moisture – if you live in a dry climate or there hasn’t been any rainfall. Despite the fact that we just said too much moisture prohibits oxygen supply to bacteria, the lack of it also is a problem because there’s isn’t enough to support the survival of bacteria within the compost.

How to fix 

  • Water it and turn it regularly
  • Leave uncovered

 

THERE’S A BAD SMELL

There can be all sorts of reasons why compost produces a foul smell – too wet, too many greens, too much meat or dairy. The main thing to understand that smelly compost means that there is an imbalance in the composition of materials within the compost and it probably isn’t breaking down properly.

How to fix 

  • Cut materials finely before putting in – smaller materials are less likely to smell
  • Turn it regularly – again turning it regularly will keep the smell away
  • Keep a better mix of greens and browns – there’s plenty of advice on the internet about how to get the perfect mix greens and browns

 

If you don’t necessarily have any of these problems, or you fix these problems but you think your compost could still do with some improvement, check out why you should be using compost accelerator.

 

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