What Goes in Compost Bin Without Causing a Stink?
There’s such an abundance of scraps from food preparation that it seems a waste to just throw them in a garbage dump somewhere. Outdoor composting is an excellent way to dispose of vegetable matter and give your garden or landscaping a little boost in nutrition. Done properly, composting will not have a foul odor. There are a few things to know about making one. Meats and bones are the biggest sources of odor and draw animals to it. It’s also not good to add them in any form because of their decomposition methodology. Rotten meat stinks whether it’s cooked or not. Things like rinsed egg shells are okay to add, but shells not rinsed can be a smelly attractant, too. Egg shells can put calcium into your compost so it’s a good addition.
If you fish, and keep what you catch, you may want to add those carcasses into an established compost. One that’s established has already been decaying the contents so the speed of the fish decomposition is quicker. American Indians used to bury a fish with each planting seed hill for fertilizer. This is the same principle. Odor from it is minimal since the compost is already cooking. Cooking is the heat produced that breaks down the matter of your compost.
A balanced ratio of discards in your compost will help keep the temperature up. Leaf and grass clippings that have not had any pesticides are good for the mixture. Shredded newspaper can also be added since it will break down.
To save everyday scraps you may want to have a vessel beside your cutting surface to add your scraps to. Tabletop composters are also available. Some have replaceable carbon filters to minimize odor. Scraps collected on a daily basis can be buried in a hole dug in the ground and recovered with soil. It will eventually decompose if the site is left undisturbed for awhile before the ground is dug into again. Old time gardeners made this a faithful practice. In on ground or in ground composts do not be surprised to see worms. These creatures help the compost along in decomposition and their waste matter only adds more nutrients to it. The worms act as little live aerators in the soil.
Compost needs aeration to decompose properly. Worms will do it, but a larger scale method called turning helps it to decompose. Air mixes with the debris and causes breakdown once heat is formed in the pile.
If a portable composter is more desirable there are some that can be made from barrels, trash cans, or premade that turn like a cement mixer to stir. These methods are all good for small scale that is bigger than tabletop. Some are like a giant ball with the trap door and can be rolled around to mix.
The compost will turn to a rich, brown soil once it has decomposed. This can be used on any plants from window boxes to gardens without fear of odor. Compost tea, which is compost steeped in water and used on plants, can be made from it. The benefit of making this is it can be used as a leaf spray to help avoid plant diseases. It can also be soaked into the ground as fertilizer, too. The tea should circulate as it brews to keep the live organisms from dying. Once that happens the compost tea will not support plant health and it will also begin to smell bad.
Plant matter is the best for minimal smell, but in an outdoor compost pile things like livestock manure can be added, too. Chicken, horse, and cow are some of the most popular manures for composting. Never use it before it’s decomposed. The heat produced while it is decomposing will burn plants or their roots, but once it is ready it is a wonderfully nutritional addition to your soil.