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  • Why does my compost smell?

    Created by Max Gardener on

    Hello Everyone,

    I’m new to gardening and have a few questions regarding composting.

    I’ve been collecting fruit and veg scraps from my kitchen in a bin in my garden. It took me around 4 months to fill up the entire bin and in that time nearly all the organic matter had turned to a dark smelly liquid.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t aerate it very well over the 4 months (only when I’d add some more scraps), so I was wondering if this liquid is now unusable as i read that it might harm my plants?

    I’m following a guide to making compost tea and I currently have a bucket outside with the liquid, scraps and filtered water.

    If I stir the mixture once or twice a day is this enough aeration? (The bucket is wide and without a cover)

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I live in a developing country where its hard to find any information or products around composting.

  • Author
  • #291101

    Eric Vinje

    Hi Max –

    Happy composting is all about balancing the brown stuff (carbon) with the green stuff (nitrogen). To keep your pile “cooking” you want to maintain a C:N ratio somewhere around 25 to 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. From your description, I’d say you’re running low on carbon. Try adding some high carbon materials, like straw, sawdust, or peanut shells to the pile and mix them in well.

    Hope it helps!

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