#1 Reason Why Your Compost is Not Composting


Alright! This is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com
! Today we have another exciting episode for you. Today what we’re going to talk about
is why your compost is not composting. And, you know, I have seen this time and time again.
I’ve visited a lot of gardeners, a lot of people that are composting, home owners that
think they’re doing good because they’re composting. But yet their compost is never
done and they got bugs in it and ain’t working and all this kind of stuff. And I’m going
to share with you guys my one top tip to get your compost working instead of not working.
And this is the thing I’ve seen the most, right. So what the home owners have here is they
got a compost tumbler. Just a tumbling compost system. And I like the compost tumbler systems
for me. And for many people they work, for some people they don’t work. I like the
tumblers because, number one, they keep out, you know, vermin like rats and all this kind
of stuff and mice that could get in there and create havoc and all this kind of stuff. Number two, depending on where you live, it
might be a good thing because it retains moisture. So in the arid climate that I live in, you
know, a pile on the ground would just dry really fast and I’d have to use excess water
to keep it at the right moisture level, right. But most compost piles are at a pretty decent
moisture level but, you know, they don’t have this issue. So what the home owner’s been doing here
is they actually just take the composted kitchen scraps, which is what most people compost.
You could also compost lawn clippings and tree leaves and you know, parts of vegetables
out of your garden when you’re pulling them up, and you put them in your bin. And then
you could open your bin. And what I want to show you guys next actually, what this bin
looks like on the inside. Alright so this is what the bin looks like
on the inside. If you look at it, it’s like, I don’t know, it’s like really really
wet, right. Number one, compost shouldn’t be too dry and it shouldn’t be too wet.
And basically they added like leaves to this once and then they just kept dumping food
scraps. And that’s what I see often. People think if they just keep dumping food scraps
it’s going to compost down. And yes, while compost does happen, you can compost with
food scraps, it’s more likely rotting than composting. So another indication of this
is actually if you look closely, and now I’m not going to pick up any of these guys. Maybe
I will for the camera today. They got these little things in there. And if you’re a
girl, you guys are going to freak out so hide the camera. These guys. Aaaahhhh it’s moving,
it’s alive, aahhh! And those guys are called black soldier flies. And basically the are
nature’s degraders, you know, they eat rotten stuff. And they’re in there because your
compost is not happening properly. If there’s creatures in your compost, your compost is
not happening properly, because you need to have a proper carbon to nitrogen ratio in
your compost. And if you’re adding things like the food scraps, right, you’re adding
a lot of nitrogen, you know, also known as greens, so grass clippings and the food scraps
are the greens. But you also need to add the browns, right. Remember, brown power! Alright,
so we need the browns. So what are browns? So browns are leaves. But John they added
leaves once. Well you need to add like four times as much leaves as the food scraps. So
you need to remember to do this often. In addition, the leaves don’t break down as
fast. So I’d recommend like, you know, grinding them up into smaller pieces so they break
down faster. Because some leaves just simply don’t break down. I mean, we could see whole
leaves in here. Like these are some oak leaves that just haven’t broken down over time.
So what I recommended yesterday the home owner do is actually go out and get my number one
favorite carbon source that may be available near you for super cheap. So let’s go ahead
and take a look at that next. So my number one favorite carbon source that
you guys are missing if your compost pile is rotting, stinking, got bugs, is this stuff
right here. Super simple, super easy. It’s actually just known as the, this is from tractor
suppliers like 6 bucks a bag of 40 pounds. Super good deal. Normally maybe it, depending
on where you live, it could be like 8 bucks 40 pounds. These are just natural pine pellets.
This is equine bedding pellets, are very important, you want to get the horse bedding pellets
at a feed store, you know. They don’t have any additives or preservatives or chemicals
in there because, you know, they’re meant for horses. Because they don’t want to get
their expensive horses sick. But guess what these guys are? These guys are compressed
carbon nodules. And this is what they look like, right here, basically just compressed
saw dust, nothing added. And you’re going to want to put these into your compost pile. So what I do is I take a five gallon bucket.
Into the bottom about that much to the bucket I’ll fill up with the pine pellets, right,
and then I’ll put all my food on top of the bucket. And, you know, say you’re going
to put it in a bag inside your, you know, garbage disposal cruncher thing. You could
just line these in the bottom of the bag and then when you dump your compost in there,
it’s already in the bottom of the bag and it’s going to be pre-mixed. So you just
need to find the right ratio to use in the bottom, right. And that way you’re going
to add carbon every single time you add them. In addition, because these pine pellets they
absorb their weight in water, I mean, horses pee on these things and they pop up and they
fluff up. And the other thing if you got cats, they sell this stuff for cat litter. If you
buy it at like Pet Smart or whatever, you know, they’re going to charge you ten times
as much as if you get the horse stuff. And it’s the same stuff, right. That could save
you a lot of money right there. But yeah, these guys, you know, absorb the water, so
they keep your bucket cleaner. In my case it could keep things cleaner. And, so you
don’t get all that funny runny stuff that drips all over your, you know, floors when
you’re taking it outside of the compost pile. But in addition you’re adding the
carbon that’s required for composting. So because they added this in yesterday, you
know, this pile is already a little bit warmer than it was yesterday. Meaning that now the
microbes are able to act appropriately because they have the better ratio of carbon to nitrogen.
Now this pile is still a bit wet for me. So I think I’m going to go ahead and add some
more of the pine pellets. And I mean, a question you guys might have is how much pine pellets
do I add? Well, you know what? Basically they had pretty much this composter pretty full.
And out of this 40 pound bag they probably added about maybe one third of it so far.
And I’m going to add about another one third of it, to kind of get it up to speed and,
you know, let it get composting. The other thing I would highly encourage you
guys to get is a compost thermometer, right. Compost thermometers are cheap on Amazon,
maybe 13 -15 bucks. I have a video on it already, I’ll put a link down below for the compost
thermometer I bought. And you could check your compost. And if your compost is not in
the right range, because it will give you like little things. Like in this temperature
range it’s red, too hot; in this temperature range it’s green; in this temperature range
it’s yellow, maybe not hot enough. You need to like dial it in and normally the biggest
reason why compost piles don’t work- not enough carbon. So go out and get yourselves
some of these pellets , you know, pine pellets used for horse bedding, to get your compost
pile on fire. Well, not really on fire but working at least. So within about, I don’t
know, maybe 6 to 8 weeks you could have a finished, you know, compost pile, finished
compost to put into your garden instead of just rotting smelling stuff that is sitting
there for a year and doing nothing. Alright, so hope you guys enjoyed this episode.
Be sure to check my other episodes. I’ve put the links down below for other episodes
I have on composting and how I compost myself. If you liked this video please give me a thumbs
up. Also be sure to subscribe if you’re not already. I have new videos coming out
all the time. And be sure to share my past episodes. I have over a thousand fifty episodes
now all aspects of growing food at home, including you know, composting and visiting farms and
everything else related. And I’m sure you will love them. Hope you guys enjoyed this
episode. Once again, my name is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com . We’ll see you
next time and remember till then – keep on growing.

100 thoughts on “#1 Reason Why Your Compost is Not Composting

  1. This is actually good information because not having any browns was holding me back from making compost with my garden waste. I just started a pile by using pine needles and tree waste I had piled up and added some cardboard in layers, after a few days the pile is shrinking.

  2. God, there's so many of Amazon cuckolds. Why do you care about composting and being green when you support Amazon and the tens of thousands of vehicles bezos is putting on the road and the clear cutting to build his warehouses. 👎

  3. This is way too much work. It will actually cost me more to compost than just buying compost at Home Depot.

  4. Wow nice video. Thanks for sharing the video
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  5. If you're only composting food scraps, you can also just trench compost… Much easier in my opinion, and you don't need to bother with the layering

  6. I likewise live in a arid region. One way we help to keep compost pile moisture up is to cover with a tarp during the higher months to help maintain moisture levels.

  7. I have found that coffee grounds, while great to compost, plug the drain screen at the bottom of the tumbler. Put the grounds directly on your garden or use them in a different compost container.

  8. I love your content but feel like your yelling all the time and it’s hard to watch to the end. The info is great though!

  9. Human and pet hair is good for compost pile too. Ashes from wood stove/fireplace, Epsom salts, baking soda, molasses (it feeds the microbes and they are what break down everything.) egg shells are better after being pulverized like in the ninja/food processor. Of course leaves, shredded paper and cardboard. I use shredded paper as fire starter & in the composter.

  10. I have a revolving compost but we've been getting so much rain, I think it made the compost start stinking because I didn't spin it. Any tips on trying to have the compost compost even when it's raining?

  11. This is what happens when you get a yelling idiot to make a video, people wont watch no matter how good the content could be.

  12. Thanks for the tip. My compost rollers are not smelly but they do have bugs and are a bit wet. I'll try the bedding pellets to jump start them again.

  13. I’m a girl and freaked out because you’re ignorantly sexist and yelling at like I don’t understand what you’re explaining. 🙄

  14. My free fixes for compost: Shredded newspaper/paper/cardboard for carbon & grass clippings/coffee grounds for nitrogen.

    I run a hot compost pile and it will generally get really close to done without too much additives, but when it has the last couple of weeks to go and its starting to not stay at temperature, I will get a free bag of used coffee grounds from the local coffee shop and add them to my compost pile. Shoots the temperature way up and quickly finishes my compost.

  15. So other than all that, I'm trying to find out what the ambient temperature needs to be before the composter starts working in the spring. Just coming up to April now and the overnight lows are still near zero and so no action, no heat.

  16. Didn’t like this … 1. Because there is no need to shout at viewers, 2. Sexist comment … why would a girl freak out… underlying assumption that a boy wouldn’t 🤷‍♀️? 3. What are pine pellets? If the video is made for a world wide audience use of language and an awareness of the use of jargon that might not exit in other countries ya a must

  17. I want to attract those bugs into my compost. They make great chicken feeds. Having them in you compost bin means your fruits and veggies were not treated with pesticides.

  18. "if you're a girl you're gonna freak out"? no, i'm gonna click on another link and not watch the rest of your video. there are plenty of other informative youtube channels that don't insult women, duuude.

  19. So if my compost bin is at the point where there are bugs and rotting stink, jus ad brown and it will get going, do I need to get rid of maggots? Or do I need to get rid of that batch and start over?

  20. Americans don’t know how to compost btw..should only be leaves not food and plate scraps. Super gross…just because it breaks down doesn’t make it effective

  21. I love black soldier fly larva! I once had them in my compost and it was exciting to go out there everyday and see their numbers growing while my compost disappeared basically overnight! They're also so cute with their squirming sounds. Someday I'll build a soldier fly trap with a pupate ramp heading right into my automatic chicken feeder… Just as soon as I get my own property. And chickens.

  22. If you’re a girl? Come on… I’ve been a worm farmer for over five years. Please no more “girls are scared of bugs” jokes. Otherwise I did enjoy the video. My worm bin is alway wet in the bottom trays.

  23. Oh, for heaven's sake. Black Soldier fly larvae are awesome composters. I loved it when I got a wet pile and Black Soldier Flies. They ate my garbage for two years until the winter killed them off.

  24. Can I use sawdust in this way? I have a wood shop and plenty of alder and pine sawdust.

  25. I've got an idea. We will buy a $300 composter and supplement it with $10 pellets per month so we can make $5 dollars of compost every two months.

    BRILLIANT!

  26. I tried this method of adding sawdust bedding after watching this video. The used the elements of Nitrogen from rich kitchen scraps…and it does not work that well at all. It's all because the sawdust is too rich in carbon. If you do this you need to add blood meal to your compost (Nitrogen) for the sawdust to be able to compost and breakdown. Don't use just sawdust like this, I tried it for a year with different composting trials.

  27. I don't know a single woman who would be screaming about maggots unless she face planted into a corpse. Check your male privilege dude!!!

  28. I compost cause I'm trying to be more eco-friendly and buying more stuff that comes in plastic bags defeats the purpose

  29. No, No, No. Don't use pine pellets for compost. Pine wood has too much oil and rosins. He is right that you need 'brown stuff'. I suggest chopped leaves that you run over with a lawn mower. I've added pine to my composter and suddenly the composting went from ETA of a few weeks to several months. It slowed the entire process way too much. Have you ever heard of Pine Sol, Pine Oil, etc? Those are cleaners and disinfectants derived from pine trees.

  30. if you do,nt like his humour then do,nt watch his video,s.live and let live.by the way your comment was repulsive.get a life.

  31. I have fail on compositing attempts from April ( Washington DC area zone 7 ) to August . But recently have had sucess in getting the pile to heat up by soaking the crushed brown leaves and crushed up , dried leaves in water and household ammonia ( 8 oz per 20 gallons of water see the "drunken Compost video" . With in one day the slop smells like a barn yard ( 85° mid August) then t put the drained slop in a oval metal tub like tractor supply uses to keep baby chickens in at the store. The heat generated I'd too hot to touch for more than 2 sec. About 145° I figure

    Ow for the question . How long do t keep th he pile intact before turning .? I have been turning it every day. Should I let it cook for a week before turning . How often do you tumble your compost

  32. I hide my compost in shady dark area, add veggie scraps , fruits, all type of worms, used diapers, cans and wine bottles but the latter is taking ages to compost. maybe not a good idea to add bottles, since I travel a lot my compost dry a lot, so I routed the septic system to directly flood the compost with a high tech timer twice a week.. it made a big mess there the smell is atrocious but all for mother nature, now it is a bit acidic in the compost which look too soupy, an old timer with thick fingers that exhibit 6 packs in each finger said ¨if it ain´t slimy soup it ain't gooood¨ with scary accent and glowy eyes. He advised me to flood the compost with my septic waste 3 times a weak instead of twice. I bought a thermometer and test the temp, it is 65 to 70 c , 160 f, one time a puppy dog fell in it and was de composed in 3 days.
    I share my veggies and fruits with friends and neighbors they all love my tomato and leafy green garden produce. I am planing to apply to be organically certified soon wish me luck.

  33. So it cost more money to compost after you purchase your compost! What do you recommend for those who live in the Caribbean!

  34. I have a strong suspicision that pulverized material does't break down faster than non pulverized material . . The small material size gives the impression that the compost is finished. Finished , meaning , looks like dirt. Composting is a digesting process
    The developed heat is a BYPRODUCT of the digesting.
    Heat is and indicator– primarily
    Breaking down compost material small enough so that it can be absorbed through the membranes of is the goal
    Those compressed horse bedding pellets get damp then fall apart creating damp sawdust. Once it turns grey, if dry. or black, if wet, then it looks like dirt..
    Just because the compost looks like rich black dirt doesnt mean it is digested.

    Digested means ; reduced small enough to enter through plant membrane.

    Clay if dried and powdered is apparently small enough to pass through root membrane or leaf membrane if used as a folate.

    I guessing all of this but so are the composting experts.

    Steeping compost material would result in faster reduction of compost material to apply as a compost tea .
    Soak green grass clippings in water. For one minute . The water turns a olive green tint. Instance compost tea Steep it or soak it like people steep , boil or soak willow bark . . heck follow the example of making tea.

    As these YouTube composting experts are instructing on how to make "feel good" .Mulch.. that
    what you really end up with .
    I have rendered leaves down to powder . Sifted it through a window screen. 15 lbs of it seeds dont grow in it . Worms seem to prefer large leaf particles and damp hay more than bite size leaf dust. . I took the 15 lbs of leaf dust and mixed it with dirt. Maybe it will eventually brake down to something plants can use

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