Compost Smells: This and Other Composting Myths

Composting is a natural and simple process and yet it has been complicated by machines, fallacies, misinformation, myths, and misunderstandings that came out due to erroneous publications and aggressive commercial marketing approaches. Some of these misinformed facts have been passed around so many times that the general perception has become truth. An example would be the seemingly accepted fact that all compost smells. But before we go into that, letís discuss some other composting myths first.

Myth: Composting requires a lot of work

Truth: Composting is a natural process which involves basically the elements of nature doing the job for you. All you need is to gather all the materials, lay it on, and let nature do her job. Composting is a low maintenance activity as well. You only need to turn the compost file every once in a while to keep the air flowing to quicken the decomposition process and thatís it. You practically sit and wait for the the compost to finish.

Myth: Composting is limited to farms and wide open spaces
Truth: On the contrary, people living in urban areas who have no luxury for space can create their own composting bin from a trash can. How much space would that take up? Also, there is another technique which you can use, the so-called vermicomposting which involves the use of red worms in a contained bin where you feed them table scraps.

Myth: Composting needs precise measurements

Truth: Even though composting ideally would be best achieved with the right combination of greens and browns elements, having the exact measurements is not that necessary. Estimates work just fine. And those neatly piled up layers of composting piles you see in commercials, books, pamphlets and brochures of composting products, those are all for show. You donít need to copy those, composting works the same way as you pile them up haphazardly.

Myth: You need specially formulated chemicals as starters or activators

Truth: Well, despite the claims of commercially available products that applying them to the compost pile will speed up the process of decomposition, buying them is not really necessary. It is often the practice to just throw in some finished compost into the newly formed compost pile and that itself will serve as the activator to get things started. Thereís no need to buy those expensive stuff.

Myth: Adding yeast will boost the compostís performance

Truth: This is not true at all. What youíre doing is just wasting your money by adding yeast to the compost pile. Yeast does not do anything to the compost pile and neither does it affect the performance quality of the compost.

Myth: Animals are attracted to composting piles

Truth: Yes, this to some degree is true. Composting piles do attract the occasional cat, dog or raccoon. Small critters will likely go for open compost piles and for piles that have kitchen scraps like meat, fat, dairy products, bones and pet manure to the pile.

Myth: Compost smells

Truth: Compost should not smell. If you find bad smelling compost, then the maker did a poor job picking the materials for the compost pile.

Other composting myths exist and it would be best to do your research first before accepting them as truth.


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