What Does it Mean if Your Compost Pile Stinks?

Stinky compost

(ModernSurvival.org) – Creating a compost pile is a great addition to any survivalist’s home. For one, a compost pile is a convenient way to get rid of kitchen scraps and yard trimmings. Second, a good compost pile will help fertilize the soil, leading to healthier plants and larger harvests. Third, a compost pile is ultimately good for the environment, as it keeps the waste added to it from making its way to a landfill.

Despite these positive benefits, many people shy away from the idea of creating a compost pile out of fear that it will stink. But is a compost pile supposed to smell bad?

Avoid the Stench

Contrary to popular belief, a compost pile isn’t supposed to stink. In order to stop a compost pile from unleashing a noxious stench, one must first understand what goes into a compost pile to make it work.

The two components of a compost pile are carbon and nitrogen. Carbon comes from “brown” items added to the mix, such as cardboard, sawdust, shredded paper, and corn husks. Nitrogen is added through “green” components such as grass clippings, food waste, and coffee grounds.

The key to keeping an unpleasant odor from developing is maintaining the correct balance between carbon and nitrogen in the mix. The basic ratio of carbon to nitrogen is 30 to 1, or thirty parts carbon per one part nitrogen.

Bad smells in your compost pile come along when the levels of nitrogen begin to offset the balance. This is easy to do since it’s hard to know exactly how much nitrogen or carbon each item added to the mix really has. The best way to know if the balance is off is by using the pile itself. If the pile stinks, it has too much nitrogen and needs some browns added. If it’s taking too long to break down, it needs more greens.

Compost piles have a plethora of benefits, but in the aftermath of a true world-altering disaster, they could become essential to survival. Knowing how to create and maintain a compost pile may one day mean the difference between starving to death and being able to grow enough food to survive.

In this situation, a compost pile won’t just help keep the family fed, it will also provide a means of disposing of some otherwise unusable waste. To learn what this waste is and why it works in a compost pile, check out our article here.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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