Compost

1595 WordsOct 3, 20127 Pages
7 Solutions to Common Compost Problems 1. My compost is wet, soggy or slimy Nothing is worse than cold, slimy compost! How does it get this way? Three factors are usually to blame: poor aeration, too much moisture, or not enough nitrogen-rich material in the pile. A compost pile overburdened with materials that mat down when wet—grass clippings, spoiled hay, heaps of unshredded tree leaves—can become so dense that the pile's center receives no air. If you leave such a suffocating heap uncovered during a prolonged rainy spell (and don't turn it to introduce some air into the center), you'll end up with a cold, soggy lump that just sits there. Aerobic bacteria—the tiny microorganisms that make compost cook—cannot live in such an…show more content…
But if you don't remove them from the finished mixture before you spread it on the garden, you might find them snipping off the emerging roots and leaves of your beans, beets, and other seedlings. Ants and earwigs also invade compost piles. Like sow bugs and pill bugs, they are essentially harmless to the composting process, but their presence may indicate that your pile is on a slow track to decomposition. To get these bugs out of your compost, raise the heap's temperature to above 120°F. (If you aren't sure what your pile's temperature is, measure it with a compost thermometer or a regular old meat thermometer wrapped in plastic.) Turn the pile over and rebuild it, watering it well as you go. If it contains lots of leaves or straw, mix in a nitrogen source like bloodmeal, manure, or shellfish shells. It should start heating soon, and when it does, those bugs will depart for a more comfortable place. To keep your pile cooking, turn it at least every 2 weeks; more often if possible. But what if your finished compost is infested with sow or pill bugs and you want to use it where seedlings are growing? Do you have to start all over again? No. Spread the compost in a thin layer on a tarp in direct sunlight and leave it there to dry. The bugs will bail out quickly. 4. Plants are growing in my compost Even a hot
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