University of Illinois Extension
Composting in the Home Garden

the composting process
layering compost
what to compost
types of compost bins
troubleshooting
common questions
Composting in the Home Garden - Troubleshooting

Compost Troubleshooting

The compost has a bad odor

Problem: Not enough air. Not enough water. Too small.
Solutions: Turn it, add dry material if the pile is too wet.

The center of the pile is dry

Problem: Lack of nitrogen.
Solutions: Moisten and turn the pile.

The compost is damp and warm only in the middle

Problem: Pile is too small.
Solutions: Collect more material and mix the old ingredients into a new pile.

The heap is damp and sweet-smelling but still will not heat up

Problem: Lack of nitrogen.
Solutions: Mix in a nitrogen source like fresh grass clippings, manure or fertilizer.

Large, undecomposed items are still in the mix

Problem: Low surface area.
Solutions: Remove items, and chop or shred large items.

the composting process | layering compost | what to compost | types of compost bins | troubleshooting | common questions | credits