When your compost is decomposing slowly is because it has a lot more carbons than nitrogens. In other words, the compost bin has a lot of leaves and twigs. This happens to individuals with many trees in the backyard. The dry leaves fall and they are either thrown in a plastic bag to head to the landfill or they are placed in the compost bin to head back into the garden beds at later months. Hopefully, Compost 101 inspired you to choose the latter. 🙂
Now if you have this issue, I have two tricks under my sleeve that I used from time to time when I collect a lot more dry leaves than kitchen scraps.
I first ask my neighbors for their kitchen scraps. This is usually enough to balance my carbons and nitrogens to get my compost bin going.
However during the fall season when I get a lot of leaves in the backyard, I use a different approach. I go to the local Starbucks and ask for the used coffee grounds. I take as much as they have available. I bring it to my compost bin and I mix it with the existing compost and new dry leaves.
This is also a useful trick if you shred your unwanted mail and place it in the compost. The paper and cardboard are carbons that slow down the process of the compost but an equal amount of used coffee grounds should get your timeline back on track.
But what if you have the opposite case? You have no trees in your back yard and you only throw in your compost bin the kitchen scraps. In this case, your compost will become stinky, plaster-like dirt. In this case, I add mulch to the bin and mix it well. The mulch will help cover the smell and over time the plaster-like dirt will become regular dirt. However, you would have to mix it well over several weeks.
These two simple practical tricks will help you get your compost to what you need it to be. Remember this is not an overnight project, and every compost will come out different because it will depends on what you throw in. But after two or three batches you will know your own compost balance.
Do you have anything holding you back when it comes to starting your own compost? If you have already started it? What other tricks have you used to fix your mixture?
Today’s Featured Photographer: jesse orrico