Q. I’m composting in plastic trash cans with holes. It’s taking a very long time to make compost despite adding carbon to my grass clippings and kitchen waste. I water and turn it every few days. What am I doing wrong?
A. There could be several reasons why.
Large Volumes Perform BetterPerhaps the volume of compost is too small. If the amount of compost is too small, it will never produce enough heat on its own. If the air temperature is cold and the compost pile small, the composting process will be very slow.
Maybe it’s too windy. Composting is difficult in areas where there is significant wind or too much sun. Compost develops better in shady areas of the yard without wind.
The compost ingredients might not be high enough in nitrogen. Compost ingredients are divided into two categories; “brown” ingredients which are loaded with carbon and “green” ingredients which are loaded with nitrogen. Compost should have significant amounts of “green” ingredients or use animal manure.
Too Dry or
Too Dry or
The compost may be too dry or too wet. Compost needs to be moist but not sopping wet. Compost is like a living organism; it needs air to “breathe” and moisture.
Microorganisms are needed in the mix. I reserve a small amount of compost from the previous mix to act as a “starter” for the new mix. Or I will put in a couple of pounds of garden soil just for the microorganisms.