Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Compost Lessons from the Swamp Monster


Of all the Halloween ghouls, I think the Swamp Monster (or Muck Monster or Swamp Thing, if you prefer) likely knows the most about decomposition. He does, after all, live among murky, slowly decaying gunk in a mist-covered swamp.



Since we do not want our compost bin to smell like a swamp, however, we will pay homage to the Swamp Monster by taking lessons to avoid his decomposing mistakes:

  1. Aerate: without air your pile will go anaerobic, inviting bacteria more suited to a swamp. These bacteria create methane as they slowly decompose your food scraps. Not only will your pile take forever to break down but it will also smell bad.
  2. Add Browns: adding all “green” material like food scraps or freshly cut grass provides too much nitrogen and not enough carbon for our decomposing microorganisms. They need both, ideally in a balance of one part green to three parts brown, to break down your compost efficiently and without odors.
  3. Limit Water: the Swamp Monster may need murky, slimy, water to creep around in stalking humans strolling through the swamp, but your compost bin does not need so much water. It should be as wet as a wrung out sponge.


Should your backyard have a mini-swamp of its own with any standing water, never choose that location for your compost bin. You will create slimy, stinky compost and may even attract a scaly, part-amphibian, part-human creature who will unexpectedly pull you into the depths of your compost bin when you take out your scraps. Probably not, but you never know…

Happy Halloweeeen!

Love Halloween and composting like me? Check out our creepy posts from past Halloweens:

Three Reasons Werewolves Make Terrible Composters


Watch out, little birdy!  



5 comments:

  1. Do you continue to add to compost over the winter? I have a bin so I figure it will be too cold. I was going to let it sit until spring.

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    1. Yes, Maureen, I continue to add food scraps and cover them with leaves. The composting slows down but when springs comes, that pile will disappear in no time.

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  2. My compost bin is one of those black plastic containers sold for composting....I don’t think any moisture gets inside. Should I be adding water every so often?

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    Replies
    1. Actually, those hold in moisture so well that if you are adding food scraps it should be fine most of the year. Using a gloved hand pick up a handful and squeeze. If you can squeeze a drop or two out it is perfect. If it is super dry and crunchy, add a little water.

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