Keep Compost Aerobic

Posted by @Anderwood on
Once a compost pile goes anaerobic, it is toxic to plants.

We all know compost is one of the best soil amendments, but is it still good when it gets slimy and smelly? The answer is a big NO. Why? Here are three reasons:

1. Anaerobic compost has a low pH. It can get down to as low as 2!

2. When the pH is this low, the good bacteria and fungi can't survive. Bad guy nematodes show up.

3. The N P and K are converted into insoluble forms. Nitrogen turns into ammonium gas, for example.

If compost has a foul odor, don't put it in your garden.

Be sure you have a good ratio of greens (grass and kitchen scraps) to browns (shredded fall leaves and hay/straw). If you have a pile, use a pitch fork or turning tool to mix it up at least once a week. If it gets too wet, add more brown material.

The three reasons listed above are just a brief summary of a talk by Dr. Elaine Ingham that I heard on Permaculture Voices, episode 96. It is well worth a listen.

On a side note, I hope everyone saved some fall leaves to get a pile going in the spring. Add some coffee grounds from your local shop and you'll soon be cooking!

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Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Rescuing stinky compost by RickCorey Feb 21, 2015 6:15 AM 18

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