compost too wet

kittee(8 Portland, OR)June 6, 2007

Hi Folks,

I am fairly new to composting and am using a plastic barrel type composter that has a built in tumbler. My compost is too wet--it is very wet, a bit stinky and is full of fat maggots. I never add water, just greens from the kitchen and coffee grinds. What kind of browns can I add? I have no source for leaves, and I went to the feed store to get hay today and they are out with none coming in soon. The compost is not hot at all, I have some activator, which I tried to use last year with no success. Any suggestions?



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You've got tons of browns in all liklihood.
Newspaper, junk mailing, waste paper,
cardboard. Look at whats going in your trash
and I'll bet you can find plenty of compostable

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 9:38PM
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N.O. has those big newspaper recycle dumpsters all over if you need lots of paper quickly. Just go grab a couple of papers, you're still recycling them afterall.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 11:54PM
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kittee(8 Portland, OR)

i'm not sure what dumpster you mean? i've lived here for six years and have never seen one. where have you seen these before?


    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 8:02AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Shredded paper is your best bet right now.

DON'T add activator- that's just more nitrogen (the opposite of what you need). Hay is generally not a brown- it's usually neutral to green. Straw is a brown.

Brown pine needles, other people's leaves, leftover bark mulch, paper grocery bags- all good stuff to add. Tear it up a bit first.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 8:34AM
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Kittee I saw one right off Carollton last week. Across the street from the back left side of the Notre Dame Seminary. There were two side by side in a parking lot. The dumpsters are usually red and green and shaped like everyday square dumpsters. I don't go to Nawlins much but in Baton Rouge and in my area they are usually near schools or churches. We also have some that are really long and green (can't miss them once you've seen one).

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 11:21PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

Compost activator is unnecessary. If you put 'greens' and 'browns' mixed together in a pile, it will compost. Do you use paper towels or Kleenex type tissues in your home? Put those in your compost container where kitchen scraps go, instead of into the trash. Cut up newspaper or junk mail into strips, ditto for cereal boxes and so on. If you have access to a shredder, that makes it even easier. If you have kids, they might like to cut things up for your compost.

I am confused by the maggots issue, can someone address that? In another thread I just assured someone that I have composted for decades and never seen maggots in it. Does that relate to being in a different climate or what? I have composted in WI, IL, and England.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 12:13AM
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kittee(8 Portland, OR)

i think i have maggots in the compost because it is rotting right now and not hot. it is not hot at all. i'm sure if i can get it to heat up, the maggots will die.

thanks everyone for the paper suggestion. i had no idea i could tear up paper for my compost. this is a perfect solution for me. i believe i am supposed to use twice as much brown to green? and should i layer it and not tumble, or can i add it in and tumble away?


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 12:18AM
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I don't know about the paper collection bins where you are, but in many areas, once paper is deposited in those bins, it becomes the property of the owners of the bins. If that's the case, and you took paper from those bins, it would be considered stealing, and some recyclers pursue these cases pretty vigorously.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 12:44AM
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Maggots, the larva of several undesireable insects, will hatch and grow in compost, or any other organic matter, that is moist enough, and compost that is moist enough for that to occur is too wet for proper digestion.
Maggots are not major, or desireable, digesters of the material in your compost pile.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 7:21AM
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bpgreen I'm a couponer who gets coupons from such bins and have seen many such conversations of legal issues involved. The newspaper bin that I get coupons from is in the parking lot of a police station :) (been going there for 5 years). I can confirm that it is not illegal here.

That being said, I think most people can find enough browns around thier house if they look. Spring cleaning becomes fun when you can throw all the paper into the compost.

On the bug issue, we get lots of them here. I have friends that have moved away and then back home. They complain when they come back because we have so many bugs here. It's just part of living in the humid hot south. It is a constant battle to keep compost dry here. Once hurricane season starts up we get rain almost everyday and even when it is not raining the humidity is almost always over 60% (80-100% most summer days UGH!)

While I'm running at the mouth I have an additional brown question. Magazines. Are they ok to add if shreaded? If not, what do I do with glossy paper?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 12:15PM
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will the maggots eat the tomato plants I am adding the compost to?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 11:34AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)


    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 11:53AM
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