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compost pile smells too strong

 
pollinator
Posts: 1559
Location: Denver, CO
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It is not the usual bad compost smell, like hydrogen sulfide or ammonia. Instead, it is the woody forest floor smell that a good pile is supposed to have, but so strong it can be smelled 200 feet away quite well, and we have to keep the windows shut. The pile is made of weeds and dead plants, not kitchen scraps or manure, with some soil, a bit of blood meal, and some gypsum added. It is maybe three cubic yards or less.
 
garden master
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Location: West Tennessee
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If it doesn't smell like putrefaction I wouldn't worry about it. Does it smell earthy like this all the time or was the pile just turned?
 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Sounds like you have a super compost rich in humic acid going there.

You are fortunate indeed. You could start using some of that golden compost and thus disperse the odor, if it is that bothersome.

If you just turned the heap, then it is telling you it is ready for use.

Redhawk
 
Gilbert Fritz
pollinator
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It smells like it all the time, but even stronger after turning.

I agree, it seems to be a sign that it is heating nicely.

I think I might have solved the "problem" by turning it and covering it with a thin layer of earth; the smell is still present but not overpowering. As expected, the core of the pile had lots of fungal type growth in it.
 
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Sounds like you have a high fungal pile where most of the time when piles get out of balance it is more to the bacteria side. Would be great to spread around any trees you want to give a boost to, I would think.
 
gardener
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Perhaps add a significant amount of high carbon browns as you turn it and see if that reduces the problem.  Got any dried leaves or shredded paper from the office you could turn into you pile?
 
Mother Tree
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If the problem is that you can smell it, rather than the smell itself, maybe just cover it with a tarp or a layer of dry straw to keep the smell in the pile.
 
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Location: Pennsylvania, Dauphin County
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have you considered sprayingLAB or Lactic acid bacteria.

IMO4 will help with that too but its largely the lactic acid working the same benefit but IMO4 adds very strong bio life if made correct.

Add biochar, so many reasons for that but smell is a bit one but will also help you much for a great many reason.

The lab and biochar I have seen personally take the stink out of a pig farm.
 
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