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Compost problem


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#1 Lyra

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:34 AM

Hi there! We recently got a compost bin and have been putting vegetable matter in it. No meat at all (I thought I would put that in in case it makes a difference) We have a small container in the house that we put the scraps in and twice a day my husband empties that into the big compost bin. He then rinses out the little container and chucks the water in. Apparently we have a mould problem in the compost: it's completely covered over, not just little bits. What are we doing wrong? How can we fix it. We are currently thinking of just dumping a whole heap of dirt in there and starting again

Any help would be appreciated

#2 Elfie34

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:43 AM

air needs to be able to get into the compost - i know bunnings sells a lot of bins without sufficient aeration. maybe drill some holes into the lid or keep the lid off so that it gets some air and also give it a stir every couple of days. it does need to stay moist, and it is good to put paper, straw, leaf matter in as well. Avoid dairy products.

maybe keep the lid off for a few days to try to get rid of the mould?



#3 buttercup-bob

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:46 AM

maybe too much water? its only meant to be kept moist, not dripping wet.
have you got worms in as well? they can help break down the matter quicker.

#4 twinboys

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:52 AM

The best thing for a compost bin is a corkscrew turner.
You get them from Bunnings and they are around $20 and you just turn the compost over every week or so.

I wouldn't be putting the extra water in the bin though - tip this water onto some plants around the bin or into a couple of pot plants as they tend to dry out pretty quickly.

I would also get a bigger kitchen bin so you are not having to go out twice a day  ph34r.gif
You can also wrap the scraps into newspaper or line the kitchen bin with newspaper so this will keep the bin cleaner and the paper will be composted.

I put a fair bit of paper into my compost bin - used tissues, egg cartons, paper towels, serviettes. It helps to keep the contents a bit drier as well

Edited by twinboys, 17 January 2013 - 07:52 AM.


#5 Lyra

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:12 AM

QUOTE (ran27 @ 17/01/2013, 08:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
air needs to be able to get into the compost - i know bunnings sells a lot of bins without sufficient aeration. maybe drill some holes into the lid or keep the lid off so that it gets some air and also give it a stir every couple of days. it does need to stay moist, and it is good to put paper, straw, leaf matter in as well. Avoid dairy products.

maybe keep the lid off for a few days to try to get rid of the mould?


Yes, we bought this one from Bunnings and I did worry about the lack of holes. We have taken the lid off it because today is supposed to be super hot. Tomorrow I will turn it and maybe put a bit of dirt on top and some worms too. I didn't know that about dairy products. I will avoid that from now on


QUOTE (buttercup-bob @ 17/01/2013, 08:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
maybe too much water? its only meant to be kept moist, not dripping wet.
have you got worms in as well? they can help break down the matter quicker.


Yeah, there was water dripping down the sides when I had a look and we are definitely getting some worms in ASAP


QUOTE (twinboys @ 17/01/2013, 08:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The best thing for a compost bin is a corkscrew turner.
You get them from Bunnings and they are around $20 and you just turn the compost over every week or so.

I wouldn't be putting the extra water in the bin though - tip this water onto some plants around the bin or into a couple of pot plants as they tend to dry out pretty quickly.

I would also get a bigger kitchen bin so you are not having to go out twice a day  ph34r.gif
You can also wrap the scraps into newspaper or line the kitchen bin with newspaper so this will keep the bin cleaner and the paper will be composted.

I put a fair bit of paper into my compost bin - used tissues, egg cartons, paper towels, serviettes. It helps to keep the contents a bit drier as well


I did mention a corkscrew turner to my husband but he poo-poohed that idea. I think I might broach the subject again after he has turned it a few times wink.gif Going out twice a day is not an issue. My husband works in a bungalow out the back so he's just taking it out when he goes back after lunch. And, then after dinner he takes it out again when he feeds the cats. I can't handle a bigger compost bin in the house because my kitchen space is small enough as it is sad.gif At the moment I line the bottom of the internal compost bin with kitchen towel so a bit of paper is going in

I am seriously tempted to break up a few cardboard boxes that won't fit into the recycle bin and chucking those in too. Good idea or bad?

Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate it!


#6 nouseforaname

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:21 AM

Too much water. Also you need to layer in some dry material eg. dry grass clipping, leaf litter, shredded paper. Cardboard boxes are not a prob, but you'd want to break them up fairly small. Paper would be better.


#7 maxshim

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:32 AM

I don't have as much knowledge as some of the PP's, but we have had our compost bin for quite a few years now.  Ours gets solely kitchen scraps in it and nothing else.  We have a large lunchbox which I keep in the kitchen and it only gets emptied every couple of days - or less if I'm feeling particularly lazy  wink.gif

We leave the lid off it if the weather is going to be nice for a few days to let some sun get in there, but other than that we don't do anything to it, with the exception of turning it over with a shovel every now and then (not with any regularity really).  It is plenty wet enough with just these things happening and we have never added water to it.  

Worms appeared of their own accord after a while, we never added them, but now there is a million of them.  

We just add a bit of good quality potting mix to it if we want to put it in the garden and that's all.

Hope something there helps you.



#8 shelbysmum

Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:40 AM

You can also add a few layers of pea straw into it when you turn it as well as shredded newspaper.

Definitely too much water going in as you currently describe it.

#9 Lyra

Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:54 PM

An exciting update LOL

I took the lid off and it has dried out in there. I also added in some ripped up newspaper. But, because it's been opened up we now have lots of flies in there sad.gif

who knew having a compost bin would be so complicated!

#10 immismum

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:16 PM

You need to get a carbon nitrogen balance.  Basically all the kitchen scraps are quite high in nitrogen, so you need to put carbon things in.  Like straw, dried up leaves, cardboard boxes etc.

D some googling, and there is quite a bit of info out there.

#11 Riotproof

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:56 AM

QUOTE (immismum @ 19/01/2013, 12:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You need to get a carbon nitrogen balance.  Basically all the kitchen scraps are quite high in nitrogen, so you need to put carbon things in.  Like straw, dried up leaves, cardboard boxes etc.

D some googling, and there is quite a bit of info out there.

Yes, it sounds like everything is not getting hot enough, which "browns" will help with. Even things lie dryer lint can be put in. Grass clippings are fabulous, but I don't have enough access to those.

If you want to compost dairy and meat, look into bokashi. http://www.bokashi.com.au/how-does-it-work/summary/

#12 Lyra

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:58 AM

QUOTE (immismum @ 19/01/2013, 12:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You need to get a carbon nitrogen balance.  Basically all the kitchen scraps are quite high in nitrogen, so you need to put carbon things in.  Like straw, dried up leaves, cardboard boxes etc.

D some googling, and there is quite a bit of info out there.


Thanks for that! I did try some googling but I wasn't sure what I was looking for. Most of my searches were telling me about using it for the garden which is not our primary reason for having it. We do have some cardboard boxes so I think I will rip those up and chuck them in.

QUOTE (Riotproof @ 19/01/2013, 07:56 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, it sounds like everything is not getting hot enough, which "browns" will help with. Even things lie dryer lint can be put in. Grass clippings are fabulous, but I don't have enough access to those.

If you want to compost dairy and meat, look into bokashi. http://www.bokashi.com.au/how-does-it-work/summary/


We had a bokashi and it really didn't work for us. With grass clippings do we put them straight in or do we need to wait until they dry out?





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