Is Compost Too Wet? This is How to Troubleshoot

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In Brief: Is Compost Too Wet? This is How to Troubleshoot

A soggy compost pile could lead to a lot of headaches. Not only is it not good for your compost to be too wet, but it can lead to smells and vermin. Fortunately, there are several ways you can eliminate that excess moisture without ruining your effort. Here we will show you the steps you can take to troubleshoot the issues.

It’s no longer news that using a compost bin is the fastest way to produce composts. Not only are these composts free from bacteria, but they also provide the nutrients needed for plants to grow.

However, when compost is too wet, it gets slimy and smells really bad. Such compost adds little or no nutrient to the soil.

How To Troubleshoot Wet Compost

Composting isn’t as easy as most sites make it sound. A little mistake or negligence from the gardener and things might go wrong.

Is your compost too wet? If that’s the case, there are little tricks that will help you out.

Reduce The Amount Of High-moisture Content You Throw In

The whole idea is to make your compost moist. Not too dry and not too wet. A little moisture will do, but the amount of fluid shouldn’t surpass the rest of the materials in the bin.

If your compost is too wet, the first suspect is that you’ve thrown in a lot of high water content, especially vegetables and grass clippings.

If too much of these are in the compost, the mixture is likely to be high in oxygen, creating an unpleasant environment for microbes to thrive.

Hence, for composts that are too wet, you want to first drain off the fluids and dig out some of these high water content materials in favor of carbon-rich browns.

Throw in Some Carbon-Rich Content

If your compost is already wet, draining some fluid won’t do, especially if the majority of the materials are high-water content.

To counter this, you should look at introducing some carbon-rich ingredients which will absorb some of the moistures.

The best practice is to use materials with a little bit of carbon as well as nitrogen. This is because carbon-rich contents are bulky and difficult to decompose.

To stabilize decomposition, a little nitrogen is needed to trigger microbial action. The best materials for this includes straw, autumn leaves, pine needles, lawn thatch, and sawdust.

The amount you throw in depends on the volume of the mixture in your compost bin. Adding too much would equally make the compost dry.

Breakdown Heavy Components

It might be a bit difficult for microorganisms to decompose some materials in the compost bin.

When throwing in carbon-rich materials, you need to make sure you chop them into tiny pieces that won’t be difficult to decompose.

It’s best practice to turn the contents with a shovel or pitchfork anytime you add new materials. Giving it a spin improves aeration.

Where it’s difficult to mix the contents with a shovel, you can do so by rolling the bin on the floor or with a rolling handle if you’re using a compost tumbler.

To learn how to properly turn your compost with a shovel, this video will be your guide:


Spice Things Up With A Nitrogen Activator

If nothing works, you can try rebooting the process by adding nitrogen activators to the mixture. This will quicken the decomposition process.

When adding an activator, ensure you roll or spin the mixture so the activator will be distributed equally across every corner of the bin.

For the best way to use compost activators, this video will be your guide:



The key to producing quality compost isn’t in the method or size of the compost bin you use. It depends heavily on the materials.

It’s best practice to strike a balance between high water content and carbon-rich materials. Too much of any would cause a lot of trouble, especially in the case of wet compost.