The look of compost
We filled three compost bins with three different mixtures to show you how to make the best compost.
This is a classic mistake made by many first time composters. They get their brand new compost bin and just use it to get rid of their grass cuttings, fruit and vegetable peelings. These are great things to put in a bin, but used on their own will result in a sludgy, smelly mess.
Can I do anything about it?
A bit of hard work is the remedy for sludge, use a fork to empty the bin and break up any solid clumps. Then refill the bin adding plenty of brown material and some fresh greens as you go. Be patient, as it will take a couple of months to look like it should.
Autumn is a typical time of year when this may occur. Because of the large number of leaves falling from trees and a flurry of plant pruning, bins get filled with too many browns. Autumn leaves just don't produce enough nitrogen to activate the heat production.
That's like my bin, what can I do?
Leaves should be composted separately to make lovely leafmould. If your bin does have more leaves in it than it should, try adding some more greens, like grass cuttings. Or you could add nettles soaked in cold water, which also makes a great activator for a compost bin.
The green items will contain bacteria that will generate the initial heat that is required by the process. A healthy compost bin is a living ecosystem. By keeping a good mix of green and brown material you will provide the perfect conditions for a variety of mini-beasts and can let them do all the hard work.
Make sure you keep adding the right combination of greens and browns
... and you'll have a continuous supply of nutritious compost for your garden. Don't forget to aerate your compost once in a while by using a fork or a broom handle.