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Smelly peelings etc

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Post by Jaded Green on 11th July 2010, 9:45 pm



I've just taken some kitchen peelings etc down the garden to the compost bin. It smelt terrible and there was a lot of liquid at the bottom of the bucket.

I don't think my bright idea of lining a lidded bucket with a compost-able bag and sticking it outside the back door for a week while I filled it up was such a good one.

I've slung the bag into the bin along with a heap of shredded paper and the liquid went down the drain (sorry, sewerage people) but is this going to make a mess of my compost? I don't know what else to do with the stuff.
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Post by Dandelion on 11th July 2010, 10:30 pm

Hee hee - you should have smelt the dross left over from making the comfrey feed! That went into the bin (and very sloppy it was) on top of straw from the old strawberries, paper from the guineas' cage etc, and there's no dreadful smell when I take the lid off, especially as it's now covered with other stuff. There may of course be a horrible surprise waiting for me when I turn it all over in the autumn!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Jaded Green on 11th July 2010, 10:53 pm

Thanks Dandelion. fortunately the bin is at the bottom of our small garden!

I may put some more shreddings in.
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Post by Sparhawk on 11th July 2010, 11:54 pm

Last year I collected a couple of binliners of seaweed to go in the compost bin, there were a few comments from the neighbours for a few days, but they couldn't work out where the smell came from..

Oh & the nettle tea this year is a bit special too...

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"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
                 The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

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Post by Compostwoman on 12th July 2010, 11:47 am

The liquid would have been good to put in the compost bin as well....

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Post by Mike on 12th July 2010, 12:40 pm

Nasty smells and their cause .... anaerobic decomposition.

The reason why overly wet pre-compost smells so bad is that the liquid collecting in the bottom excludes air from what is down there and the "beasties" lving in that soup are anaerobes. Might have strated out with a mix as aerobes can live in ordinary water with a normal amount of dissolved oxygen in it, but as time went on the oxygen in the liquid in the bucket was depeleted and the anaerobes took over close to 100%.

When you pour that nasty stuff over your fluffy compost outside (add to pile) there is now plenty of oxygen so the aerobes can revive. In a few days no nasty smell. If you find that when you dig into your pile it smells nasty in the middle then was too densely packed or kept too wet for the aerobes.

I've seen a tool demonstrated for aerating piles that works much better than other alternatives* and you might be able to improvise this tool. You know those giant cork screw things they sell for staking out critters? Can you find a really big one? The sort intended for horses or anchoring an RV?

If a compost pile has become overly compacted you screw one of those things in, Then insert into the handle (they usually have a triangular "loop" on top you hold when screwing in) the short end of a length of wood to which you have hinged a fulcrum with a wide base and lever out the screw.

* The demonstration had a whole bunch available to try out.

PS -- prevention easier than cure? Once you have the cycle under way and so always have a supply of finished compost available put some of that aside in a bucket in a dry place so over time really dry. Or if you live near woods gather some forest duff and let that dry. Every time after you empty your kitchen compost bucket to the pile put a handful or two of this dry material in the bottom of the bucket to sop up excess liquid. With a little experience you'll know how much you'll need. If you live in town, limited access to woods and you have no supply of finished compost (you are just starting out?) shouldn't be too expensive to buy a 10-20 kg bag of
"bunny food" (pelleted alfalfa -- instead of bunny food could be "calf manna"). A couple cms of that in the bottom of the bucket should go a long way toward keeping the contents aerobic.

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Post by Dandelion on 12th July 2010, 4:52 pm

OH and DD1 drove down to a folk festival in Somerset yesterday - on the way they saw a sticker in the back of another car which said 'Compost happens'. I want one!!!!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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