Here are some common problems in composting, and some possible causes and solutions.
If your compost smells bad, it could because of a lack of air, either because the pile is compacted too much or it has been overwatered. Aerate the pile, or add browns to absorb some of the moisture.
If the compost smells like ammonia, there’s too much nitrogen, so add browns and aerate.
Doesn’t Heat Up
Check to see that it’s moist enough, and, if not, poke holes in the pile to water well inside.
Your pile might also need to be turned. Use a fork to bring materials from the outside to the center of the pile. If you had a hot pile and it cools off, it probably needs to be turned.
Or, it might not be heating up because it’s finished. It it’s dark, crumbly and earthy smelling, your compost is finished.
Animals are Getting Into It
Meat and dairy products attract animals so keep these out of your compost pile.
Throw a piece of chicken wire, fencing or other loose covering over the pile to keep animals out.
Some Stuff Doesn’t Break Down
Your pieces could be too large. Chop coarse material before adding it to piles in the future and for now, take bigger pieces out.
Your pile could also need turning, or could be lacking nitrogen or moisture.