Need a compost Doctor?
We’ve been continuing to feed our compost heap this week. We added quite a lot of fruit peelings from the second chance smoothie event on Saturday, as there was already a lot of fruit and veg on it there are now too many greens and there are lots of fruit flies. This is just one of the common problems you can find with your compost so in this week’s article we’re going to tackle some of the most common problems facing your garden compost heap.
Having these flies isn’t bad, the items will still break down but it can be rather off putting to come face to face with these tiny black flies. Adding more brown items (cardboard, twigs, dried grass for example) will help balance the wet/dryness of the compost. Mixing it well may also help as the items in the lower levels are quite likely to be drier having had more time to break down and the moisture to evaporate.
Typically this happens when you add lots of grass in one go to the compost. As a green it’s quite wet and putting on lots of it in one go is like covering it with a curtain that suffocates everything else. If this has happened you need to mix up the heap and add more brown materials. To prevent it happening add smaller amounts of grass when you mow the lawn – if you leave some of the grass cuttings on the lawn they’ll dry out to become a ‘brown’ item which you can put on the compost later or if you have a green garden waste collection service put some in that bin or bag and compost the rest yourself.
Now you’ve read about the two problems above you know how to fix this one, just add greens or you can water the compost for a short term fix but remember that moisture will need to be checked again in the future.
They really do get everywhere, it’s easy for one to slip in to your compost with the rest of your gardening but once they’re in it you need to make sure you dig it out including the roots before it spreads its seeds.
If you have any other compost issues you need help with let us know and we’ll put it to one of the compost experts coming to our compost celebrations over the next 3 weeks. Or you could come along to the events in Ealing, Brent, Harrow and Hounslow to speak to them yourself and as a bonus take home some quality compost made from west London’s food and garden waste to use on your garden.