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4/26/04 question from Vaughan

vaughan

Cyburbian
Messages
335
Points
11
Several months ago, at the tail end of fall/beginning of winter, after spending several months happily buying much produce from our town's new farmer's market, I decided to start a compost pile. Now granted, this was right before heading into a long Wyoming winter, but in my naivete (or stupidity), I simply thought that I would use the compost pile as an organic food dump for several frozen months and then would get to watch the compost begin in earnest come spring thaw.

Several months later, it seems that my foray into composting has come to an end. All winter long the compost has been frozen solid, but I just assumed
that it would start composting once everything thawed out. I was almost right, as it did thaw out. It has not, however, been composting, but instead everything has been rotting like crazy for the last month or so. It smells worse than anything I've ever smelled in my life. Its as if there is a dead body stuffed into the black container behind my house.

Yesterday the container fell apart. Everything snapped and started unwrapping. I've got rotting carrots and banana peels all over the place. I don't know what to do. Absolutely horrific. My plan- dump a bunch of sawdust on it and walk away.

So, my question- what absolutely boneheaded things have you done lately?
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
What is (or was) the container made of? My compost heap, which I also started this winter as well, is just beginning to decompose. My container is made of chicken wire and held up with metal posts. My compost materials is leaves, grass clipping, eggshells, kitchen waste, etc. No meat or fat.

My advice is check websites for compost tips. I got my design from a website (cannot recall which one). Either construct a sturdy and suitable wire, storm-fence or barrel composter and put the nasty stuff in there, or haul that stuff out. Also I would advise adding more vegetative matter to the mix - leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings. You need a lot of that stuff to bury the kitchen waste. The composting is caused by the internal heat of the heap. So lots of yard waste and periodic turning of the heap is paramount.
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,424
Points
40
It stinks because you have anaerobic decomposition. That's why you turn compost - to introduce air/oxygen. Turning also mixes the decomposers into the new material. Keep trying; it will work. Remember to turn it about once a week and keep the compost moist, not dripping wet.

Your local Extension office should have Master Gardeners to give you advice, or pamphlets about composting.
 

vaughan

Cyburbian
Messages
335
Points
11
Otterpop, I think that your advice hits the nail on the head- haul it all away. I suppose another tack would be to simply cover it with a foot or so of dirt. Honestly, i thought I was doing it correctly- no meat, no fat, a decent mix of dirt/vegetable matter/kitchen waste... something went wrong, I'm afraid.

The container is made of a single hard plastic sheet that rolls up into a cylinder. The cylinder has a conical top. I chose to use this rather than a homemade, chicken-wire version simply because I thought it would deter animals.

Iamme- the rotting is actually not the composting. Composting is, the way I understand it, a mineralization of the organic matter. Rotting is simply rotting. Which smells pretty bad.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Ran up an $800 cell phone bill talking to my new squeeze. What's really hilarious (or dangerous depending on how you look at it) is that the ex is responsible for the phone bill. The ex has also washed my soiled sheets, which she later found out why there were in need of a wash. That didn't go over too well.
 
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