The Q&A Archives: Wet Compost Pile

Question: El Nino has brought above average rainfall to Virginia this year. Consequently, my compost pile is totally saturated with water. Does allowing the compost to be so wet slow down the composting process? Should I cover it?

Answer: If a compost pile gets too soggy, it turns cold and stops working. What you'll have, when the sun comes out, is a smelly pile of uncomposted organic material. Try to fluff it up as best you can, and get some air into it so it can start cooking again.It will take a while to dry out, so turn it as often as you can (every few days) and incorporate as much air as possible. It will begin to heat up as soon as it dries out. If you continue to get huge amounts of rain during the spring and summer, by all means cover it so it doesn't get soggy again. The composting process takes several months under ideal conditions - your pile will turn out good compost, it's just going to take a little longer.

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