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The Science of Compost

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Stehouwer offers the following troubleshooting suggestions for cold, stinky compost bins:

• Mix the carbon and the food scraps more thoroughly, so the decomposing food can diffuse oxygen faster than it consumes oxygen.

• Mix more dry leaves or paper into a pile that may be too wet. “The rate of oxygen diffusion through water is 10,000 times slower than through air,” he said.

• “Add material that will help create porosity,” he said, such as wood chips, straw and dry leaves. Large air gaps in a compost pile improve air flow and help the microbes do their job.

• Add more carbon. Excess nitrogen, or food scraps, can generate stinky ammonia.

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88 comments

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8:11AM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

thanks for sharing

1:01AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

An important article to read if you want to compost.

11:35PM PDT on Apr 12, 2011

THANKS 2 INFORM

12:06AM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

great! thanks for the info.

12:06AM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

great! thanks for the info.

7:05PM PDT on Apr 8, 2011

Compost is awesome. ty for the article.

8:12AM PDT on Apr 8, 2011

thanks, this is so important

8:11AM PDT on Apr 8, 2011

thanks

11:09AM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

Wow thank you for this great information on composting. I had no idea there was a "right way" to do it until reading your article. Keep up the good work!

9:32PM PDT on Apr 1, 2011

Adding paper is somethingI haven't been doing..Thankyou! I love Care2, I learn so many tips so fast, that improve my life! Thankyou, again!!

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