Tumbler Composter - affectionately named R2D2

Help! My compost stinks

A lot of people don’t compost because they think it is stinky. But the thing is, if your compost stinks, you’re doing it wrong.

Here are 3 things to check if you’ve got a stinky compost bin:

Too much kitchen scraps

Often the number one cause of a stinky compost bin is that people just put their kitchen scraps and only their kitchen scraps. For compost to break down properly, without fermenting you need to have the right combination of green vs brown.

So what is green? Green is generally wet items which includes your kitchen scraps or green plant life (eg lawn clippings right from the mower). Brown is more dry elements things like dead leaves or hays. Things like newspaper and cardboard are considered neutral as they don’t really add anything. Generally if I find my compost is getting a bit stinky I’ll throw in a couple of handful of sugar cane mulch. When ever I am repotting a pot I will pop in the old soil to prop up my composts green components. The best ratio is 3 parts brown to 1 part green.

The wrong kind of kitchen scraps

Things like meats, dairy products and oils should not be thrown into the compost bin. I follow the rule of nothing that is cooked as I find that this is more likely to attract rodents and unwanted pests as well, so this includes things like breads and pastas. Egg shells are fine, but I recommend grinding them up a big so they no longer resemble an egg.

Onions and citrus are fine for the compost bins, but they aren’t a favourite for worms so, if your aim is to build a decent worm colony find a better home for these guys.

Also don’t put in your domestic animal poops (eg. Cat and Dog) as some diseases can transfer to humans so this is especially important if you’re using your compost for edibles.

It’s too wet

Sometimes if it’s too wet it will start to smell a bit. In this situation, add some extra browns to the bin and give it a good mix. Lay off the water for a bit, and if it’s from rain, cover it up to let it settle down.

Your compost bin shouldn’t stink, but should resemble the smell of the forest floor.

If you want to see my compost setups you can do so here.


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