Composting newbie needs help

Karyn963(Zone 10a - So Cal)July 22, 2014

I just starting composting about three weeks ago. THE BUGS! AGH!! and it smells a bit. I am adding brown matter in the form of leaves, paper towel rolls. The only foodstuffs I add are what my family doesn't eat from fruits and veggies and egg shells. I turn the pile at least once a week. Please help. Thank You.

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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Starbucks give free coffee grounds and it keeps the bugs way down. If you add a lot of coffee, it gets acid and the bugs can't live, so just go away without any need to use a pesticide.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 3:37PM
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Sorry to hear of this on your first attempt,composting is supposed to be relaxing. I hope you can get things fixed so you don't become disgusted and give up. We need new blood in this group,some of us old timers have become boring.
Bugs are often present but do no harm. Having bad odors isn't so common nor nessary and can be a sign of problems. Think about things you have included,would any of them stink if left on the kitchen counter? Most likly the material is too wet in combination with hot weather. You will often see people instruct keeping material wet enough to wring water from like a spounge. That's much to wet. As long as you detect moisture throughout the bin that's plenty. If that makes you think it's too wet,add dry browns and turn every day until odor deminishes then go back to once a week.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 3:39PM
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What kind of smell is there? Like Ammonia or something putrid?
What kind of bugs are there?
The larva of many of the insects that do appear in compost need a pretty moist environment to hatch and grow.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:18PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Insects are part of the process and that's why we don't compost right under the kitchen window. But if you have a lot of flies, maggots, etc. the pile needs some adjustment.

Re: watering, the 'sponge' thing is supposed to be 'damp like a *wrung out* sponge', not soaking wet so you can squeeze water out of it like a saturated sponge.

No need to turn weekly unless you are in a big hurry for compost.

Do you have a pile or some sort of bin?

I'm thinking you need more browns and maybe less watering for awhile and see how it responds.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 11:13AM
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