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  • Stinky Compost Pile

    Created by Mole Farmer on

    Help! I’ve created a smelly compost pile. What am I doing wrong?

  • Author
  • #13788


    One or both of 2 things could be going on: you have too much nitrogen (greens:grass, kitchen scraps, fertilizer,…) or there is not enough air in your pile. I would fork it over, under, and around and add more carbon (browns:dead plants, twigs, sawdust…)to your mix.



    What do you put in the pile? If you put any meats, dairy or oils, these can make a stink.


    Mole Farmer

    I think I've fixed the problem now. I've added a bunch of straw and turned the pile really well. I think that it just wasn't getting enough air. The pile was pretty wet and compact after the winter months. I also added some compost starter and it's cookin' like a champion right now.



    thanks for the advice on adding more carbon to the compost pile….mine has majority grass clipping and vegetable scraps. I had to turn every few days because it was smelling ripe, but the carbon material worked.


    Eric Vinje

    Hello –

    If your compost pile stinks, something is wrong. Ordinarily composting will not create odors which seems odd as we usually think of decomposition as being a smelly business. If you do notice a smell chances are that there is not enough oxygen to support the aerobic microbes and the anaerobic ones have taken over. To fix this problem, simply stir and aerate the heap. Mixing the contents will discourage the anaerobic microbes while encouraging the less smelly aerobic microorganisms to grow and thrive. I’ve included a link to our page on composting problems. Hopefully it will help.


    Good luck!

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