How to Fix Slimy Compost and Stop It From Turning to Sludge


 Why Composting Is Good

When organic waste such as vegetable peels and food scraps are thrown into general waste and sent to landfills, they do not decompose properly and produce gases that are harmful to the planet. Some authorities charge fees for collected waste by weight, so reducing the amount you throw away will save you money, be good for the environment and give you a garden or provide free, high-quality compost for your indoor plants.

Home composting reduces the amount of waste going into landfills, keeps your kitchen bin from smelling bad and produces some of the best, most nutritious materials to use in your home and garden. Homemade compost is richer in nutrients than "compost" sold at garden centers.

Why Your Compost May Be Too Wet

Making good compost from kitchen and garden waste takes some practice, and many people find that they end up with a sticky, smelly sludge. This is usually because the mixture is too wet, as most organic waste has a high water content. Lack of air can also lead to poor compost, so you should add shredded newspaper and dry twigs/sticks to prevent the compost from compacting too much.

During composting we have green and brown waste.

Green waste is vegetable peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, food scraps, egg shells, old flowers, fresh grass clippings, and plant waste.

Brown waste is paper, dry leaves, cardboard, dry grass clippings and twigs/sticks.

How to Dry Out Compost

The ideal mixture should be moist but not wet and have an earthy smell. If it is too wet, you should add the "brown" desiccant and use a garden fork to mix it regularly and make sure it is not too compacted.

Wet vs. Dry

The problem most people have is that their compost gets too wet, becomes too thin, light-colored, and has a mild odor. You can see from the picture that mine has gotten better and darker, but I still need to add some dry twigs and shredded cardboard and mix it with a garden fork. If the weather is nice and there is no chance of rain, I leave the lid open for a day or two to dry out a bit.

Why Your Compost May Be Too Dry

If the compost is too dry, it will not begin to decompose properly. Some suggest urinating, which helps start the process! I enjoy gardening but I'm not strict, and I'm sure my neighbors wouldn't be too happy to see this practice while entertaining guests and their children in the nearby gardens!

Dry Brown Material

After a garden maintenance session, I put most of what I have cleaned into a pile where it can dry naturally in the sun and provide a good source of dry brown matter. Anything will work, including branches, twigs, leaves, and grass clippings. Old cardboard (just brown without printing) and old newspapers are also great sources of dry materials.

It should be noted that some weeds, especially invasive species such as Japanese knotweed, should never be placed in a compost pile because they will continue to grow and spread. It should either be burned or bagged and taken to a landfill.

Good-Looking Compost!

Here you can see that the compost is working well, still a little wet with some eggshells and sticks that haven't turned over yet. They take longer to decompose, but most of the material is composted. Within a few months, it will be ready for use. The compost should be broken up regularly, using a garden fork to mix it. This will prevent extreme pressure in places, allow air to move around, and encourage insects as well.

When using a compost bin with a lid, this is called “hot” composting, meaning that the compost will actually heat up, and you can see steam rising from it on cold days – this indicates that the process is going well.

What Not to Put in Your Compost

Meat (including bones) and dairy waste should not be added to your compost (except eggshells) because they can attract insects, and harmful bacteria can remain, which can be dangerous if the compost is used to grow fruits and vegetables.

It is also recommended not to add anything high in citric acid, such as lemons and limes, to your compost. Animal waste and “litter tray” materials should not be added, and large amounts of oil, grease or grease should be kept outside of the compost bin/pile.

Obviously, no inorganic materials, such as plastic, painted or varnished wood, metal or chemicals, should be added.

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