Tumbler Compost - Looks like steam but doesn't feel like it!

ColdSummerGardenerJuly 14, 2014

hi all!

I am new to backyard composting, and my wife got me a YIMBY 2 chamber tumbler to get started. I make juice almost every morning, so have a healthy supply of fresh greens available.

I've been putting my juice pulp, plus other compostable scraps in the bin for about a month now, in addition to dry leaves, dry grass clippings, paper towels, toilet paper rolls, and any other compostable cardboard sources i can find which are easily cut down to size. But pound for pound, I have more greens than browns, I think.

The other day, when I opened the bin, I saw what looked like steam - but on further inspection it looks more like pollen/a fine dust coming out of the compost.

There are *lots* of fruit flys in the bins, and the inside looks like it's turning black - but it doesn't smell. I am worried it's turning anaerobic, but don't know how to check/what to do.

Any feedback or thoughts are much appreciated!

Thanks so much,

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Wild guess: fungus spores. No stink: no problem; just turn it a little bit more often, assuming a good moisture level.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Fruit Flies, etc. can indicate the mix is too wet. These wee buggers larva need a quite wet media to hatch and grow in, wetter then is good for the bacteria that will be digesting that material. The material in any compost bin, tumbler, biostack, purpose built bin, should be just moist, like a well wrung out sponge, not damp.
Perhaps this composting tutorial might be of some use.

Here is a link that might be useful: Composting Tutorial

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 6:07AM
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Your juicing waste probably has a lot of water in it. If it's hot and dry out, leave the doors open during the day to let some moisture out. The mold doesn't hurt the compost but it's not particularly good to breathe all those spores. I would also recommend more browns, although the lack of odor indicates it's not far out of balance. But they would help dry things out. Can you get wood shavings/sawdust, straw, or anything else fluffy like that?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:10AM
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Thanks for everyone's feedback!

I am in San Francisco, by the coast, so unfortunately, airing out the bin may be tough during our summer(winter), but I have more dead leaves on the ground which I can rake up and throw in the bin.

I may have some sawdust/wood shavings from upcoming projects, which I can mix in as well.

I had a feeling the Juicing Pulp is on the very wet side - and high in Nitrogen; but it sounds like as long as there's enough airflow (and tumbling), I don't have to worry about anaerobic issues - just may have slower composting and more flies - is that right?

Thank you!!!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:58PM
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