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compost bin smells like slurry! I started a compost bin in aug and all was going well now it smells like slurry. There are yellow maggotty things on the lid! I'm using a black dustbin with a lid. I do have a spare black black bin with a lid on but i put grass cuttings and hedge trimmings in there to store for putting in the main black bin. I have put in all kitchen waste but not dairy or meat. I have however put in bread ends. I use a compost maker which is to speed up the process i think it's bonemeal. I did put my potato hulms in everything seems to be rotting down fairly well. I have had trouble turning the stuff over in the bin. However today as it's a beautifull day i have turned it all over but i had to take out half it and put it in a trug tub. So i've given it a good turn over and it does seem to be too wet. Can i rescue it if so what can i do? What do i need to put in it. I haven't put any cardboard in it or paper. Do i need to do this now to absorb all some of the moisture? I have left half in the bin and half in the trug for today so the air can get to it but it has given monsoons for tommorow so i will have to put it all back in the bin and put the lid back on tonight before the deluge! Also i have read that you have to put green and brown things what are these and how do you layer them correctly. sorry for all the question i'm a newbie!



Hi Petitebabe! I use this website for all my composting queries -

It sounds as though you haven't got the right mix in the bin. Also, are you using an ordinary dustbin to hold the stuff you're trying to compost? If so, it doesn't have the drainage or air circulation that you need. If that is the case you'll need to buy a composter, or make one. I haven't done it myself but you can make a good compost bin out of old pallets and a piece of old carpet for a lid I understand.

I haven't found that the powders you can sprinkle onto the heap work. They don't seem to help at all, so I would say don't bother with them.

Take your empty composter. If you are going to put food remains or vegetable peelings in it I suggest you cover the base with wire mesh to keep out rats and mice. Wrap the wire up the sides of the composter for a few inches and pleat in so that it's a good fit. To fill it, start with a layer of twiggy material so that air can get in and circulate. Then put in green stuff, weeds, kitchen waste, grass clippings up to a depth of about 4 inches ("greens"). Then put in some dryer stuff, twiggy garden waste, dead leaves, torn up cardboard, shreddded paper, ("browns").

Looking through the list of what you've been trying to compost, I think it's all "greens". I think you'll have to take it out and start again, adding "browns". This webpage has the advice you'll need -

Good job autumn's just about here, you may already have some dead leaves you could add - otherwise, start tearing up cardboard & egg boxes.

I'm sure you'll be able to rescue your compost. :-)

30 Sep, 2010


If you're using a plastic dustbin I found this question on the composting website -

How to use an old plastic dustbin as a composter? Cut the bottom out!

30 Sep, 2010


Thankyou so much i will have to chuck it all in there now and sort it out on saturday. After the monsoon that we are supposed to be having tommorow! I think i have no drainage in the bottom so i will get the drill out on sat and give it quite a few large holes! I have it sat on a pallet as i was going to try and collect the liquid that seeps out of the bottom putting another dustbin lid underneath i believe you can use this as liquid fertiliser in your garden was going to collect it and store it in a bottle for the summer bedding plants. i just forgot to check if it had holes in! I think i also need to add some more browns. I didn't know that you had to put cardboard etc in!

30 Sep, 2010


All is explained if your dustbin is intact below! If you're drilling holes make plenty of them, but not big enough for a mouse to get through. (And they can squeeze down pretty small!)

You'll probably find the liquid that seeps out smells quite offensive - I don't think I'd bother to collect it. The experts recommend that you site the composter straight on the earth (no pallet) as you need earthworms and other small animals / bacteria to find their way in.

You only need to add cardboard or paper if you're short of twiggy stuff or dead leaves to layer with the soft green stuff that smells as it rots. You may find other things that can act as "browns". We had a package that was delivered packed in wood shavings. I added them to the composter a handful at a time - the bin bag full of shavings lasted a long time. Egg boxes are good, and I line the kitchen "peely bin" with paper - adds a bit of "brown" and reduces washing.

30 Sep, 2010


I really would not recommend using a plastic dustbin for your compost even with holes drilled in the bottom. You need air through the compost and the plastic compost bins are constructed in such a way as to provide this and have no bottom at all. Making one from wooden pallets is very easy.

30 Sep, 2010


other dry waste you could use are, shredded paper,egg shells,empty toilet rolls and tea bags(make sure you break them up first) I agree a purpose made compost bin is best, also I find the compost activator I use "grotta" works well if you put a shake of it in at regular intervals.
Place the bin in full sun if you can and as near to the house as possible so that its handy to pop out with waste especially in winter.

Dont put bread in you could get rats, I find twigs dont compost very well, but at least they create gaps in the heap.
My problem is the tiny flies in there, its quite off putting when you take the lid off, but other times there hardley any.

Please save your dead leaves for mulch they may be wasted in the compost bin. I closed off a corner at the bottom of my garden with chicken wire and each year I fill it with all the dead leaves I can, by the following autumn I have rich black mulch to put on my flower beds.

30 Sep, 2010


Sorry Bloodnut I would not suggest placing a compost bin near to the house! We have a container we put scraps into which the go the the compost bin, I would never place a compost bin near to a house for health reasons.

30 Sep, 2010


Thanx for all the advice. Apparently a mouse can get through a hole as small as a pencil! Not sure how true this is. Good advice about the bread bloodnut. I'm hoping by keeping my compost bin whole i will be able to keep the rats out. Not that i have seen any here. I have a mouse in the garden. I'm saving my toilet roll inners for starting some of my plants in next year but i have some other cardboard that can go in. I'm not dead keen on sticking my bin direct onto the soil as i wanted to try to collect the liquid that comes out of compost as fertiliser for next years bedding plants be it smelly! Thats why i have put it on a pallet so i can put a recepticle underneath to catch any liquid. I will have to drill a whole lot of holes as many as i can but not as big as pencil size just in case! See if it works. At least i will know what is wrong if it doesn't work. I will put some worms in by hand to do their job!

30 Sep, 2010


If I can't persuade you to put the compost bin direct on the soil, the next best option (but not nearly as good) is to put some soil in the bottom of the bin. Worms and other small beasts normally migrate in and out of the composter and if it's not in contact with the soil they can't do that. I reckon the value of any liquid you collect will be outweighed by the slowness and difficulty of producing good compost the way you propose.

30 Sep, 2010


Putting worms in by hand will not work. It is not garden worms you want but the little red brandling (I think) ones - they do all the hard work. If you want a liquid from your compost to feed your plants make compost tea don't use the run off it will be far to concentrated and could burn your bedding plants. Mice are never a real problem in compost unless you live in an area infested with them.

Petitebabe you state you are a newby but seem reluctant to take the advice of folk who have been composting for donkeys years... I really suggest you do a google search on composting and read the info you find.

1 Oct, 2010


I recently bought a plastic composting bin (with a hatch which provides air) and the blurb that came with it strongly recommends placing it directly onto well drained soil - this is to encourage worms & other bacteria into the composting material. It also recommends that a few inches of manure or kitchen waste directly on the soil will help attract the worms & micro-organisms.

A closed dustbin will suffer from aeration so scrunching up newpaper when adding your brown layer will help

1 Oct, 2010

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