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September 2015
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Composting: Rain water got into the pit – What to do ?

Making compost is a fairly easy task, and once you have started making such compost at home, it can be done fairly easily. However, for the newbie, it seems a daunting task initially (or seems to become one when some problems occurs with the composting process). The secret to making compost is very simple, there are many tips, but the simple paramount one is about ensuring that the compost is neither too dry nor too wet. One big problem that I heard from somebody was about their compost container being open (the lid blew off during a gust of wind) and they had too much rain water entering the compost pile. Now, after a couple of days, the compost seemed to be still very soggy, and they could see maggots making their way inside. The first worry was; was the compost not good, did they screw something up, should they dump all this and try again ? The first task is to reassure them that in most cases of composting, there was no such thing as the process becoming irreversibly bad, and that quick corrections can happen and there are some tips to ensure that this situation does not get repeated.
This is really more relevant when you are composting in a container of some sort. If you have an open pile, too much rain can make it soggy to some extent, but if it is exposed to the sun, it will dry out pretty soon. If the pile gets wet and it seems wet for some days, then just turn it over with a rake, add grass or some other brown stuff (too many options for what to do add – sawdust from untreated wood, dry leaves, shredded newspaper or cardboard, pine needles (although need to balance with some lime to retain the pH levels) and similar stuff) while ensuring that matter is not getting clumped together.
If you are preparing your compost in a container, you would have made multiple holes in your containers for aeration purposes, right ? You could even have some holes in the bottom from where you collect the wonder juice ‘leachate’, right ? In which case, the rain water that has fallen into the pile will make its way out. If the rain water is collecting inside the compost container even when there are holes, then there are remedial measures that need to be taken. Some parts of your compost pile have become matted together and are not letting the water through, which is a bigger problem, since it means that there is not enough space for air to move around and composting will become much slower. You need to break up these matted together parts of the compost pile and ensure that there is enough space for water and air to move. Further, add shredded newspaper and cardboard or dry leaves to ensure that moisture levels come down within a couple of days and its under control. Do not get into an over-control mode and add too much of dry stuff otherwise you will end up on the other side, with the pile becoming dry.
The bigger part of this is that you should not worry too much that you have made some big mistake, or that something has happened which would cause you to throw away your under-preparation compost. Simply get onto the internet, look up your problem, and you will find your solution, or if you know somebody who has been preparing compost, then the same solution.

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