Lv 7
Wundt asked in Home & GardenGarden & Landscape · 7 years ago

Composter not 'cooking'?

A month ago I bought to a composter with two 40 gallon barrels that rotate. I filled them both with materials, mostly from my old compost pile, mostly leaves, but some grass and food scraps, all about 1/2 way through the process. Neither of the barrels have started to heat up the way my old pile used to when I was good about keeping it turned. I even bought some "Compost Food" to see if that would kick start things.

Any recommendations to get my compost cooking?

6 Answers

  • Loreli
    Lv 4
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm not sure where you are, but is it possible it is not quite hot enough yet? We've had a really cold winter and spring has been slow in arriving in many areas. Besides the mixture and moisture, you DO need exterior heat as well. Is your bin in full sunlight?

    I'm assuming since you've composted before, you know what the right mixture is, but you might want to read A Rind is a Terrible Thing to Waste, under the Latest News tab at the link below. You also might try one of these compost starters and have some patience.

  • 7 years ago

    Make sure there is enough moisture. If the leaves are dry it might not be wet enough. You don't want it soaking, but some moisture is good.

    If you have some on hand, throw in a couple of shovels full of old compost or dirt from your garden to provide it with enzymes.

    And lastly, with a rotating drum, there is air circulation around the drum, so during rainy/cool weather, it isn't 'blanketed' to the ground like a regular compost pile. Wrap a piece of clear plastic around the whole thing right to the ground for a few days, to give it the greenhouse treatment.

    Good luck :)

    Source(s): Life experience
  • 7 years ago

    You may not have enough bulk yet to generate enough heat. Since you've composted in piles before you are familiar with the carbon:nitrogen ratio needs and the need for moisture, but not sodden material. Since the pile is more air exposed and probably doesn't have the bulk for heat, I think you need more nitrogen to get things going. Green stuff, yeah, but you might also want to add nitrogen in other forms......cottonseed meal, nitrogen fertilizer, manure. I assume there is enough oxygen.....?

  • 7 years ago

    I have never had luck with the elevated barrel systems. They don't get hot enough since the material is exposed to air temperature on all sides, and if you get too much "greens" in there, it gets sloppy and the ventilation holes get plugged and you wind up with a hot, wet mess.

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  • 7 years ago

    I cover mine over with a old carpet which always works for me

  • 7 years ago

    a few handfuls of Growmore should do the trick.

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