Ah, compost problems. You try hard to process your leftover food, but it doesn’t exactly work. It can be frustrating, but you are not alone!

Composting seems pretty straightforward, and it can be, but there are a few possible reasons why your compost isn’t degrading. Let’s take a look at potential problems, their causes, and the simple steps you can take to get back on track.

This is how you can tell that your compost won’t break down.

By the time you’re reading this, you’ve likely already noticed one of the tell-tale signs that your compost is not breaking down properly. Compost is decomposed organic material, and the end result is a nutrient-rich, dirt-like material that acts as a powerful fertilizer, improving soil quality and keeping food waste out of landfills.

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So, if your compost heap just sits there and nothing happens, you can be sure that there is a problem with the breakdown.

Keep this in mind: “Quick Compost” can be made in as little as 14 days, and regularly it takes a few months, sources say. So, if time goes by and your compost heap doesn’t get dark and earthy, it may be time to start fixing bugs.

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Know the three most common reasons for breakdown problems.

Once you know the problem keeping your pile from composting it can be easy to correct. But first you need to determine what is going on – and identifying three common compost degradation problems is the first step in doing that.

The following can happen:

  • Your bunch is not getting enough air.
  • Your pile is too dry.
  • You need to balance the mix.

Perhaps you can uncover the problem by considering your compost care routine. For example, if you’ve never or rarely watered your compost heap, you should check the moisture levels. If your compost bin is airtight or the pile is matted, it won’t breathe, a change in ventilation is in order. And if you can rule out moisture and airflow issues, it’s time to shake up your mix of materials.

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Compost does not disintegrate when wet

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Are you ready to fix your composting problems? Here is how.

Let’s take a look at correcting each of the breakdown culprits we’ve covered to get your compost heap on the path to healthy degradation.

  • When your pile isn’t getting enough air, make sure your compost bin is ventilated and that you regularly turn the pile – whether it’s in a bin or not. Ventilation is essential. Even if there is enough air flow above, the oxygen supply below will be depleted over time. It needs to be restored regularly to sustain the growth of these healthy organisms.

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  • If your pile is too dry It’s important to know that proper humidity drives the entire composting process, as the Monterey Bay UC Master Gardeners share. There is still hope for your compost heap when it is dry and dusty. Ideally, your compost heap should feel as wet as a damp sponge, and maintaining a constant level of moisture is key to composting success. Another rule of thumb is that if you can squeeze a drop of water out of a handful of compost, your compost will have the ideal moisture content.

Compost does not break down by hand

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  • If you suspect a problem with the mixture balance, Make sure you pay attention to the “green-to-brown ratio” or the “brown-green ratio” that composters live by. “Green matter like cuttings of grass or clover and all legumes are high in nitrogen. Brown materials, such as dry leaves and chopped straw or hay, are high in carbon. Mix these in a 2: 1 ratio, green to brown, for a balanced compost heap, ”says the Azure Standard.

Let’s build on this last composting problem because it’s a little more complex than the first two. The mix balance of your compost heap is important as it relates to the carbon to nitrogen ratio that is critical to its success.

As EarthEasy explains, “Brown-green balance is a term used to describe the ratio of two necessary elements required for the decomposition process: carbon and nitrogen.”

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“Microbes prefer a carbon to nitrogen (C: N) ratio of 30: 1 to do their best job. “Browns” (or carbon) include leaves, dry grass, straw, pine needles, or sawdust. “

“The greens are nitrogen-rich materials like clippings, kitchen waste, or manure … A good rule of thumb when looking at your compost is two shades of brown for each green.”

Compost does not break down leaves

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