Pile of organic waste needs a correct balance of Air, Water, Carbon, and Nitrogen to convert organic waste into high-quality compost. Imbalance of any one of these will result in struggling compost.
Microbes present in organic material decompose it and types of microbes in a composting material speed up or slow down the composting time. Some microbes work fast and turn the material into compost at high temperatures. While some work slower at a cool temperature. So, maintaining the correct temperature while making compost at home is crucial.
Here are the few signs that indicate your compost is struggling.
1.Your compost releases Bad smell
When your compost stinks it means it is extra wet and is not getting enough air. When the composting material has extra water, it became heavy and reduces the aeration. The reason is too much water, imbalance of Greens and carbon.
Compost pile normally release unpleasant smell but not stinks. Whenever it stinks this means it needs a good amount of air to evaporate the excess water
Immediately turn the pile and add some more carbon material to accelerate the process. Sunlight will evaporate the extra water in a day and the composting process will start again. You can also add a compost accelerator to speed up the process to cover the wasted time due to excess moisture.
2. Pile is well moist but the process is slower than normal
This means the problem is with aeration, actually, there are two types of microbes in composting material. one type needs more air to work fast and others need less air and they work slow. You need to increase the number of microbes that required a good amount of air and decompose material faster than other microbes. To do so good aeration is the key.
You need to increase the aeration and for this use pitchfork and lose the plie to increase the air ventilation. Once the microbes get enough air the work fast and make compost faster.
You can use Compost Tumbler Bins to make compost without many efforts.
3. Some Carbon Material (brown leaves) is not breaking down
Carbon and nitrogen are the two main elements that are necessary for the decomposition of organic material. The microbes love carbon more than the nitrogen so you need to add less nitrogen that the Carbon material. But if you add carbon in large quantity and nitrogen in a very less amount than the process of decomposing gets slower. Because this disturbs the balance between C and N.
30:1 is the ratio of Carbon to Nitrogen for composting.
Dry leaves, dry grass, newspaper, sawdust, etc are a good source of Carbon. Whereas green leaves, grass, kitchen, and manure are rich in Nitrogen. Put the material in the compost pile according to the suggested ration to get compost as soon as possible. Make sure you put material according to the ratio otherwise composting process will be very slow and it takes months to convert the material into compost
If the browns are not decomposing add some greens (limited quantity) to the pile. Mix thoroughly.
4. No Worms and Bugs
A healthy composting material always has worms, mites, and fungi in it. These things together speed up the decomposition of the material. Absence of them takes too long to decompose a material the composting material cannot decompose itself without microbes and fungi.
Take some compost from other pile and mix with struggling compost so that the existing microbes in the other compost build up their colony in the struggling compost.
You can use the compost accelerator to build colonies of microbes.
5. Sticks do not decompose
Do not add large sticks and twigs to the compost pile because these do not decompose easily and also slow down the overall decomposing time. large size dry material does not contain moisture and lack of moisture slows down the decomposing of the material.
Remove the large size sticks and bulky material from the pile this can solve your problem.
6. Compost catch Fire
Adding excess of carbon material means browns in the compost pile are common. The problem comes when you add more greens because greens release nitrogen. When the temperature goes above the high nitrogen-rich materials release nitrogen. This increases the chances of your compost catching fire.
But this is extremely rare when you made compost at home. It is more common in industrial compost where companies make compost on a large scale for commercial purposes.
Turn your pile more frequently to reduce the temperature and never give hot compost to your plants. This can damage them permanently. Just ready compost is always hot and you need to cool it down before giving it to your plants.
7. Raccoons and Rats eat your compost pile
This the most common problem when you make compost open area. These rodents are attracted by the kitchen waste that you mix in the composting material. They eat kitchen waste from the pile and disturb the balance of the material. lack of kitchen waste means a lack of nitrogen in the pile. We all know a good balance of Carbon and Nitrogen is required to start the process.
Moreover, kitchen waste material contains a good amount of water content. This helps the composting material to remain moisten.
You need to prevent these rodents from eating your pile of composting material.
The first solution does not add kitchen waste into your compost instead of that add green leaves and grass. But I don’t like this solution and have the perfect solution for you. If you think by covering the compost you can save it from rodents than you are wrong. Rodents can tear the cover and enter into the pile.
The best solution to this problem is to use compost tumblers. These are specially designed compost bins that are elevated for the ground. So that no pet and pest can access the composting material. Moreover, tumblers are insulated from all sides this increases the temperature and high temperature is a must to decompose the material.
Tumbler composters are single or double chambers. They have lids to close. Once you fill the container you should close the lid tightly. Tumblers do not allow the heat generated in the tumbler to go out in the environment. This speeds up the compost making process and you get compost in 2 to 3 weeks. Where in open piles it takes 2 to 4 months to convert the material into compost.