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Neighbors complaining about compost smell

7163 Views 11 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Will2
We have a little outside compost made out of simple walmart tubs. We turn the compost with a small shovel each time we add out food to it. The neighbors were nice enough to just say "whats that smell", but we realized that they planned their wording that way. I love them to death, and I also want to get rid of this smell. Does anyone have any tips on what to do?
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Don't look too much into it. I'm sure they are doing something that you don't like as well? Do they have their kids tonka toys outside all the time, do they not get their garbage can from the curb on time? Do they not mow their lawn until its knee high? That would be the last time I invite them over. At least your doing something good for the environment!
Get a car (pine tree) air freshener and put it on a stick right next to the compost pile lol. Really there isn't much you can do except get it in an enclosed area or move the pile further from their property...and some of this may not be feasible.
actually a little lime or lye will help with the smell ... you are likely not getting composting but rotting... to properly compost the temperature of the compost pile has to be slightly exothermic (releasing heat) also most of the time that compost bins smell it is from decomposition of meat and high fat waste that cause the wrong kinds of bacteria to grow, resulting in the "What died" smell that I am guessing you are getting... seperate high fat, high protien waste for a a seperate bin, which will handle very high nitrogen watse (meat, excrement etc... this should be treated with lye or lime and monitored regularly ) also you will want to add as well lots of sawdust and grass to this bin to keep it from getting too "Hot"
Your compost pile shouldn't be smelly. It sounds like you may be adding grease, meats, bones, and or fats to your pile. If that is what you are doing your pile may also be attracting wild animals and other undesirable creepy crawlies. Also in using your tubs rain water may not be able to drain. Cut the bottoms of your tubs out so your compost can touch the ground which will help attract worms and other beneficial bacteria and also aid in the draining....good luck in your continued composting.
To remove smell try baking soda sprinkled over the top
As others have noted, a properly functioning compost pile shouldn't smell that much.
As others have noted, barn lime does wonders for the smell in our dog kennel. I do not know if it would adversely affect the compost though.
I think the compost bin is supposed to have holes in it for circulation of air. We have a 4 by 4 foot bin that is simply wire nailed to 2x4s with no bottom. We open the gate and dig out what we need from the bottom of the pile when we need fertilizer. The bottom is in contact with the ground. We get a little smell but nothing that some one would find real offensive. The bin leeches a lot of nutrients straight into the ground. I have some strawberries growing not far away that are enormous.

Neighbors can be a pain. It's too bad they don't get it. Try adding some holes like suggested, open the bottom of that bin to the soil, and see if that doesn't help. Offer them some produce from your garden and maybe then they will appreciate the compost bin more. :)
My neighbors have a composting bin that is a ball raised on some rollers that allow them to turn it when adding waste. I have never noticed any odor. The ball has lots of holes to allow air. Check on the web for instructions on how to compost.
Those ball things are cool. I wish I had one like that. We compost a lot of garden waste, so, really just one ball wouldn't do it. I would need 2, but they are cool any way. I belong to a sustainability group and one year we made rain barrels and compost bins to sell. I also built one for myself from what I learned. We just have a wood frame with welded wire and a gate. I think the trick to keep odor down is keeping air in it, turning it a lot, and don't put in anything with a 'face'. Keep it vegetarian. :)
Add some straw grass leaves on the top, also if you ca cover the compost pile I use a greenhouse tarp overtop allows it to be heated well and keeps the vapours to only when it is exposed more or less.

Also try adding a layer of soil ontop that way you keep your rotting stuff under a soil layer, a grass/leaf layer and the tarp/plastic cover.
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