Frequently Asked Questions
Will my compost smell?
Properly running compost bins should not give off any unpleasant odors – if anything, they should be almost sweet-smelling. If you do notice any unpleasant odors, mix it well with a compost turner or pitchfork to get more air into the pile, and add some more “browns” (e.g. leaves) to dry it out. Don’t add piles of grass clippings all at once, as they will give off an ammonia-like smell. Always make sure not to put any meat, dairy, oil or fat products in your Earth Machine™ Compost Bin.
How long before I have compost?
Most people find that they can harvest finished compost from the bottom of their pile every 4 to 6 months or so. However, if you have a good mix of “greens” and “browns”, stir thoroughly and frequently, and keep it from getting too wet or dry, you will find you can “cook” a batch of compost in as little as 6 weeks.
What do I do to get rid of fruit flies?
During the summer, you may be greeted by fruit flies when you open your Kitchen Collector or Earth Machine™. To keep them at bay in the kitchen, make sure to secure the lild latch on your Kitchen Collector tightly and empty it frequently. At your Earth Machine™, add leaves or a thin layer of soil each time you add fresh material.
What can I do to keep raccoons, squirrels, rodents and dogs
of my Earth Machine™?
Occasionally, an eager pest will decide to take a liking to your Earth Machine™, so here are a few things to help keep those critters away:
- Always make sure not to put any meat, dairy, oil or fat in your Earth Machine™.
- Bury fresh material in the compost pile
- Keep the harvest door fastened by placing a stick through the matching holes in the door and Earth Machine™.
- Place bricks or flat stones around the base of the Earth Machine™.
- Add dog hair to the compost
If the problem persists, you can line the bottom of the Earth Machine™ with a layer of chicken wire.
If my Earth Machine™ fills up too quickly, what should I do?
Use your Earth Machine™ primarily for kitchen waste, as yard waste will fill it up in a hurry. If you generate too much kitchen waste for one Earth Machine™, consider getting a second one.
How should I handle yard waste?
Consider buying or making a large yard waste compost bin, and keep it close to your Earth Machine™ so you have a ready source of cover material. It is helpful to keep some bags of leaves aside for use throughout the year.
How moist should my compost pile be?
The rule of thumb is to keep the material as moist as a wrung-out sponge. In arid climates, this means you will have to periodically add water to the pile, or make a point of adding wet materials to the Kitchen Collector (e.g. leftover coffee). In rainy areas or seasons, you may need to add dry leaves, aerate the pile with a pitchfork or compost turner, or leave the lid of compost off on sunny days.
Is there a way to make winter composting in the snowbelt easier?
Hopefully, your Earth Machine™ is located close to your back door so you don’t have to shovel a long path to it. If not, leave an old garbage can next to the back door and empty your Kitchen Collector directly into it. Once spring comes you can just add it to your Earth Machine™, together with some leaves or other browns.