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Old April 18, 2016   #1
MrSalvage
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Default What should compost smell like?

Ran into a guy that had home made compost and man does it stink. He had all kinds of stuff in with it to include pumpkin, squash, kolorabie & corn on the cob to name just a few. Then add a bunch of leaves ect...

My lord what should it smell like?
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Old April 18, 2016   #2
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finished compost shouldn't stink
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Old April 18, 2016   #3
MrSalvage
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The compost is actively being built. So it's not finished yet. I guess that's an important detail.

Sorry...
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Old April 18, 2016   #4
pmcgrady
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Good compost smells like money...
Only way I can describe it...
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Old April 18, 2016   #5
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Good compost smells like money...
Only way I can describe it...
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Old April 18, 2016   #6
Father'sDaughter
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My working compost smells very strongly earthy, but not garbage-like.
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Old April 18, 2016   #7
MrSalvage
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I think the guy was slippen a little dog poo into it... Man did it stink!
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Old April 19, 2016   #8
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Vegetation needs oxygen to give compost, if there isn't enough it will rot and give a characteristic unpleasant smell. Moving the compost heap from left to right, then from right to left the following month with a fork will give it enough air. Without oxygen the molecules will still break down but it will take at least two years instead of some months.
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Old April 19, 2016   #9
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I have 2 enclosed bins which heat up, and which I use in alternating years. I only compost plant material, and I aerate it often. The compost just smells good and earthy.
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Old April 19, 2016   #10
MrSalvage
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This definitely smells of dog poo... I guess pumpkins and squash don't break down so good...

Oh well... Thanks
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Old April 19, 2016   #11
UFXEFU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSalvage View Post
This definitely smells of dog poo... I guess pumpkins and squash don't break down so good...

Oh well... Thanks
Never put animal waste from meat eating animals in compost for use in a vegetable garden, as this can spread disease to humans. Cow and horse manure is ok, but I would compost it in a separate pile. Keep the pile turned to supply oxygen and it will not smell bad.
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Old April 19, 2016   #12
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The unpleasant odor can indicate that he's adding stinky stuff, but in general, stinky compost is compost that has gone anaerobic. It needs to be aired out, and dried out. If it were your own compost, you could do this by turning it and adding more "browns" as you went. Browns are mulch, newspapers, straw, autumn leaves, etc. The stinky odor can mean the browns and greens were not balanced -- excess greens make a stinky mess -- or it could even mean that he's just adding "greens" (kitchen waste, green leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, etc) without covering them up.
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Old April 20, 2016   #13
MrSalvage
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Thank you all for your posts. Great info here from you guys and gals!
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Old June 12, 2016   #14
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first year i made this mistake, it smells like death when it goes anerobic, it will still eventually compost, but it takes a lot longer.
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Old June 12, 2016   #15
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I just now saw this thread as old as it is.
Compost should smell like a forest floor.
Just go out in the woods and scoop up some black soil right under the leaves and smell it.
That is what it is supposed to smell like.
You can use any kind of animal flop (including human) you want but it better be (hot hot super hot ) compost so it kills the parasites and other types of no no's that are in it.
I choose not to use it myself.

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