Compost Troubleshooting

Don’t fret! Composting is a very forgiving process, and many problems that arise are often easily corrected. Composting is best learned by doing. With experience, you will learn what works for you. Below are some common issues that arise with the associated cause and proposed solutions:

Problem Cause Solution
Bad Odor Not enough air in the pile Turn the pile and add more browns
Pile isn't heating up Pile too small or too dry Add more greens and water to the pile while turning
Material isn't breaking down quickly Not enough moisture and/or pieces too large Add water and bury food scraps in center of pile
Pile is attracting ants Pile is too dry, dry food scraps exposed Add water and bury food scraps in center of pile
Excessive flies and/or rodents Food scraps exposed or wrong ingredients Bury food scraps in the center. Do not add meat, dairy, oils

Your pile should always be covered with “browns” in order to retain moisture and deter pests. Additionally, it helps to keep your pile covered (either in a closed bin or with a tarp). How often you add water and turn the pile may also change seasonally, with more in the warmer summer months. 

For additional help troubleshooting, call the Solana Center Rotline (760) 436-7986 ext 700 - a hotline for all your composting questions!