Getting ready to have another go at composting the Elaine Ingham way after the first couple of attempts at thermal compost didn’t go right, I dissected the old material to find out why.
On the plus side, the material reduced in volume to 25% of the original volume. That in itself might be telling me something, in that perhaps i hadn’t packed down the original pile enough – the composting bugs are small, and they need to be in contact with the compost to munch it, there is such a thing as too much air gap 😉
Only the very middle was wet, and did not smell, so it looks like this pile largely dried out from the outside, it probably didn’t go anaerobic, and indeed was active enough to nut the smell of the chicken crap used as the high N part.
I can’t really say I have a definitive answer, perhaps this was a combination of not enough stuff, not packed down enough, and then when the temperature failed to take off, it wasn’t turned/rewetted. These are all potential hypotheses.
Joanne’s note Oct 2016: With hindsight, the problems were probably:
- Drying out
- Material not chopped up enough
- Lack of nitrogenous material