A life less stinky

More compost posting!

I make a lot of produce based kitchen scraps, and this is mainly what my compost was eating. Now, all the books suggested I needed to mix green (my kitchen scraps) with brown (leaves, sawdust, straw, newspaper, paper), but I don’t have a whole lot of brown around. So I’ve been ripping up newspaper and throwing it in.

Pretty quickly, compost was brewing. I would open and stir and each time find half the volume of last time – but it was quickly getting heavy and hard to stir.

Then the Foul Odour started. Ammonia. Last thing I want to do is piss people off due to my compost, because I want to be The Queen of International Dirt! So, I checked online.

All the internet said add brown and stir; your pile’s too wet, too much fruit & veg. Well, I said to the internet, okay, but fruit and veg is what I’ve got. The internet has a lot of conflicting composting advice, and not enough simple backyard composter pictures. I didn’t know how much brown I was aiming at.

Fortunately, it’s fall. So I went and did some raking of mine – and neighbours’ – boulevard, and got more paper (left from moving), and I filled my compost bucket with half again browns. Stirred ’em in; layered ’em atop. I put LOTS in.

The internet didn’t tell me when my compost would stop smelling after this fix. One, then two days passed, and I began to fret quite a bit. I was stirring like a mad fiend.

This is the third day, and my composter smells better. Thank god! I had a full bucket more kitchen scraps to add…

I’ve decided, by volume – not by weight – you want three buckets leaves to one bucket kitchen scraps.  Leaves seem better than newspaper; and for newspaper I’d been shredding it to leaf sized, but I think actually larger sizes and scrunching is better.

I think I’m going to put my mushroom bags and toilet paper tubes in.

SO: 3 days for a fix, and a lot more than one to one ratios of kitchen scraps to filler.


  1. Um.I have almost no brown in my compost. I guess I’d better get on that, huh?

  2. Laundry lint also counts as brown–I save it in a plastic bag by the dryer and when the bag gets full I put it out. We also left a large bag of leaves by the composter so that we can add leaves every time we dump some fruit/veg in. It is all pretty darn cool to watch in action (although things are slowing down as the temps fall here).

  3. My dad was a gardener. In the 50s when I was growing up, there was no composting. But I do remember Dad sitting in the back yard eating an apple and then heaving the core into the garden. When I looked at him askance, he just said he was feeding the garden, it needed food as much as we did. Peels and cores would just be dug back into the soil along side of the plants. He just said that was the way it happened out in the woods so that’s how nature must mean it to happen. He also laughed at people who raked lawn clippings. He left them on the lawn to “feed” it. I wonder what he’d think of composters.

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