This one goes out to the worms I love…..
This is a notice to our friendly Ninjas in the green department trying to compost in their apartment. Though Vermicomposting is a great way to reduce kitchen and yard waste as is hot/cold composting; it can often lead to unwanted odors. In this article I’m going to try to explain how to cut down on the smell.
I’ve been composting my kitchen and yard waste for over a year now. I’m using a combination of Active and Passive style (no induced worming). While using worms for composting you can still create an active mixture of compost for your worms to live in, which at the same time will help break down the food into the ‘black gold’ faster and will also cut down on the foul smells.
An active system is basically a system which heats up due to the break down of the carbon rich fuels (i.e. food waste). The breakdown occurs when aerobic bacteria eat and multiply giving off heat. The key to an active aerobic compost is the mixture. Think of it like making a fine beer. You don’t want too much hops, you don’t want too much barley and you want the right amount of fizz. With composting you need moisture, carbons (which come from cellulose material), and nitrogen (protein based material). Never use meat, dairy products, or eggs (These require a much higher temperature to decompose). Lots of different materials are key to a healthy compost.
To get good quality compost quickly, you need to turn the the heap every few weeks with a fork or shovel. If your heap is wet and smelly â€“ turning will help it dry out. If it’s too dry, turn it and then water it. If you are using worms the rotation of the pile will not disturb the worms, they will figure out which way is up.
A compost heap needs air or it will start to smell. Remember, more air means less smell!
Turning your compost heap lets in more air. But don’t turn more than once a week as you will let too much air in the heap and it will get too cool. Compost heaps need to be hot to make the ingredients break down faster.
If your compost smells its probably over watered or not enough air. It may also get smelly if you put in too much food waste and not enough dry ingredients.
Fix it by:
- Forking in dry leaves, garden mulch or soil.
- Adding two or three handfuls of garden lime, dolomite or woodfire ash.
- Turning the compost to get more air in.
- Mixing food or grass clippings with sawdust or shredded newspaper before adding to the heap.
- Adding lime and turning the heap will discourage ants and cockroaches.
Don’t worry if you have a few compost flies. However, if your heap becomes smelly it may have too many flies. You can remedy this by following the same steps for a smelly compost.
[[post by Austin – who’s posts can normally be found over at architecture.MNP]]