5 Common Summer Composting Questions

Posted on August 20, 2016

It’s mid-summer and you’ve been tending to your beloved compost for months now. We’ve had some hot days, which are the best for turning your pile of organics into a pile of rich soil. Have you been wondering when it’ll be done? Are you questioning any smells? Here are the answers to your frequently asked summer composting questions:

1. My compost smells. What can I do?

A compost that’s too wet can smell. Try aerating the pile to let in oxygen (poke holes rather than turning), and allow it to dry out a little. You could also add some dry leaves, a little sawdust, dry topsoil or shredded paper - this mix of greens and browns is important to keep things in balance and reduce any potential smells. Your compost might also smell if there are meat, grease or dairy products in it. These should never be added to a backyard composter. Remove them if you can.

2. Why is my compost attracting animals?

Animals usually like compost because it provides food and it’s warm. Make sure meat, bones, fish and other food products that cats, dogs and rodents like aren’t in the pile. Keeping your compost hot (see #4) and watered (see #3) will also keep them away.

3. Can I make the bugs go away?

Flying insects love sweets, so make sure your high sugar fruit and veggie peels are buried deep within the pile. And ants like dry compost piles, so add water and some fresh cucumber peels if you find them house hunting. Actually, keeping your compost moist (as a damp sponge) can make it unhabitable for lots of critters and will help the decomposition process. Finally, a hot compost prevents larval.

4. Can I make my compost go faster?

A hot compost is a quick compost! Can you put your bin in the sun? You can also make the pile bigger to keep in more heat. Remember, your compost needs greens, browns, water (preferably rain) and oxygen to stay on track. You can also use bokashi to help accelerate your outdoor compost.

5. When is my compost done?

Compost that is ready to use in the garden can be dark brown or greyish black, with a sweet earthy smell and a loose, crumbly texture that feels and looks like topsoil. There may still be some large chunks, but overall it’s the same color. If you turn the pile it no longer heats up and the middle is not hot anymore. Want a composting boost for your yard, but yours isn’t ready yet? Living Soil Solutions can help! Or accelerate things with bokashi.

If you’d like to know more about composting we have online guides on backyard composting, vermi-composting and bokashi! Or come to our Composting & Soil Health Workshop on September 29th and bring your composting questions with you.