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6 Most Common Composting Mistakes


Composting could be a bit complicated task for one to perform. You will surely master the art of composting after a couple of years of experience. Still, people tend to make mistakes without realizing and then later find out how one mistake cost them their crops and plants. There is no blueprint to this task; everyone has their style and pattern. However, you have to keep some things in mind not to cross any composting boundary. If you have recently started making compost, here are some of the most common mistakes that beginners make without realizing, which later troubles them. Before making your next compost, just read this article thoroughly, and we assure you that you will be good to go!

Leaving The Food Scraps Uncovered

You must cover up all the food scraps. Covering up the food scraps helps you get the perfect balance of brown and green material. Your compost does not smell bad when you adequately cover the food scraps. If your area has animals like raccoons or critters, they also do not approach the compost. This will make your mixture a complete compost rather than making it look like a pile of garbage. It is advised that you plan it out, layer the entire compost, and don’t impulsively put things together. Layering could be as per your convenience, or you could see different examples of this on the internet to find the one which suits you the best. 

Using Limited Components

Your compost should be very diverse and not just made out of similar materials. In that case, the plants/crops only get a particular nutrient. However, the more diversity you throw in your compost, the more nutritious it will be for the plants. More variety would get the proper dark brown or black color of the compost out, which is considered the best for farming. You can add things like potato peels or lettuce stems, which are slightly uncommon but add value to your compost like never before. Take any biodegradable scrap from the kitchen and add it to your compost. It is as easy as that because it has no rules. Keep adding and subtracting stuff till you get the perfect compost you were looking for. Sometimes these weird combinations get you the best of results. Be unique with it. 

Cutting Everything Short

Don’t think that you have to make compost to look perfect. People often cut short leaves and stems just so the entire compost blends well and looks good. It is not necessary, and instead, you should add variety here and let all shapes and sizes be a part of your final compost. No doubt cutting things would make them quickly decompose, but if you do not know the right size, you might chop it all off very short, leaving no air pores. Keep trying different sizes. Do not add too big things to your compost as well. Cut them if required, but it is not a hard and fast rule that you have to follow. Do it at your convenience and as per your requirements. Don’t chop it so short that the compost becomes completely soggy. 

Lesser Leaves

Your compost needs a lot of brown leaves. These leaves are not just crucial for adding nutrients to your compost but also layer the final compost. When you add various components to your compost, you need the leaves to have a breather between them and that job. Many people first lay the leaves and then build the entire compost layers while also adding them in the middle where required. It would be best if you also had these leaves to cover up the food scraps that we talked about in the first mistake. Using something such as dry leaves, do not let the compost get soggy as well. 

Extra Grass

While people commonly leave out on the leaves, they add too much grass to their compost. It is essential to understand that you need the right proportion of everything in your compost. You cannot add too many leaves and too little grass, or only a few leaves and a lot of grass. It would help if you struck a balance. The grass blocks too much water from getting in the compost and ruining it; however, if you add too much grass, the space for air pores would also die out. The grass is an element that could make your compost smellier as well. You lower the amount of grass, and if you are using grass, make sure you balance it with dry leaves. Grass makes the compost soggy, but dry leaves would keep the balance in place.

Using The Entire Compost

People who have just begun composting think they need to use all of the compost they have made and overdo it. You do not have to pile your garden or farm with the compost. It is recommended that you use only 20-50% compost for starting seeds. Anything above this would do more harm than good. Keep mixing your compost with the soil and let all the nutrients be absorbed, and let the compost establish itself in the ground. Using the entire compost would increase the amount of salt and water going in the soil, and for starter seeds, it is not beneficial. 

Other Mistakes

  1. Not choosing the proper composting method – There are various methods used to compost. One of these would fit you, depending upon your geographic location. These methods would vary from what kind of soil you have, how big the area is, what the water situation is like, and what type of plant you are trying to grow.
  2. Making the compost too hot or too cold – You must stop the compost machine at the right temperature. You do not want too cold and hard compost or compost that is too hot and soggy. Hot compost would have too many open-air pores, which would be so big that excessive water would enter the soil and compost. In contrast, a compost that is too cold would be so dry that no amount of water or oxygen required to keep the compost healthy would be able to enter. 
  3. Wet Compost – Something that beginners often face when their compost is too soggy and wet. This happens because you have not gotten the correct proportion to balance things out somewhere in the process. Moist compost flows all the good nutrients away. If you have wet compost, a gush of water will take the rich nutrients with it. A plant cannot grow in such compost.
  4. The balance between Carbon-rich material and nitrogen-rich material. As we talked about leaves and grass earlier, brown leaves are carbon-rich material, and green grass is a nitrogen-rich material. Both of these should be a part of your compost, but in the right amount; otherwise, the other gas would take over and shake the balance.
  5. Adding unsuitable material – Please check everything you add to your compost. Sometimes people empty their kitchen bags in the compost. Often, things that are not breakable or biodegradable become a part of your compost.
  6. Adding diseased plants – Your garden might have diseased plants, or maybe part of the plant is diseased. You can remove that part and throw it away. Please do not add it to your compost because that diseased part can ruin the plant or crop that will grow from it.
  7. Adding meat – Do not add meat to your compost. It is debatable, but it is not required and matters entirely on your choice. We would suggest that you avoid adding it since it attracts insects and rodents to your compost.


It is your compost, and there are no rules that give out the perfect compost. Every land, every material, and every plant is different. That is why making the compost could also differ from person to person. It will take time for a beginner to figure out the craft of composting, which could only be done through trial and error. Keep on trying different methods and materials till you find the right one for you. However, keeping the things mentioned earlier in your head before starting would better the results in the final compost. At least you won’t ruin your plants/ crops. Make the compost nutritious for the plant. Striking the perfect balance is very important, and you will learn how to do that with time. Adding a lot of variety is essential, but you also have to make sure that they don’t overpower each other so that the plant gets the best of nutrients in the right proportion. From leaves to grass, to plants, to food scraps, everything is essential, and your compost must have a mixture of all of them. Do not worry, and you will surely get a hint of everything after your first compost-making process only. Stay alert and monitor each step of your compost-making procedure, and you would be good to go. Come back to this article whenever you feel you have messed something up and, based on your compost’s condition, figure out where you went wrong. All the best! Go green!