Tag Archives: compost moisture level

Do Compost Piles Need to be Watered?

I just got back from a two week trip, and the first thing I thought about was ‘how are my compost systems doing?’

It ends up that things are pretty good.

It hasn’t rained here much, so I added water to my compost bins.

This is a new behavior for me- it’s normally stated as unnecessary to water compost systems, but I think this mostly applies to poorly designed compost systems that don’t have adequate aeration, therefore becoming that damp and smelly nightmare we’ve heard of but probably haven’t experienced.

My new trash can composting system (seen below) was looking pretty dried out.

The key reason: air holes.

trash can composter

This isn’t a big deal, and I’d rather have this situation than a soggy mess (not that that can’t be cured quickly as well).

I dumped in a full watering can’s worth before any moisture started coming out of the side holes… that’s saying something about how much water is craved by compost piles.

After watering my 2 compost bins and the trash can composter, I checked on the Worm Inn Mega system.

I was worried about them going two weeks without enough food or moisture, but luckily it worked out.

I simply gave them an extra large serving of food scraps and a fresh layer of new damp cardboard bedding before leaving on the trip.

Two weeks is a while for them though; as expected, they were all hunkered down in the middle of the system, so I made myself a huge kale/carrot/apple/ginger juice and gave them the remains.

The Worm Inn Mega springs back to life!

The extra space that this system provides over the original model came in handy for sure.

Are you composting yet?

I feel like the summer time is the most fun time for hot composting, but it’s also the most ridden with bugs if you’re not on top of your game.

Either way, get started!  It’s too easy.

Ants in the Compost

I spent some time away from the compost pile to spend more time and attention on the Worm Inn Mega in the basement.  My weekly food scrap deposit went to the worms, and it hasn’t rained in week or two.

Here come the ants!

The presence of ants indicate a dry compost pile, or uncovered food deposits, or both.  In my situation, I simply haven’t had rain in a while and I haven’t added any fresh material.

Ants aren’t necessarily bad for the pile though- they help break it down along with all the other critters working in there.

Keep your pile moist, and you should be good to go here.  Although I recommend making the least effort, I’ve been told that turning the pile will make them leave as well… although that would require a lot of energy and end up relieving all the built up heat from inside the pile.

Either way, don’t freak out if you see ants this time of year, just thank them for telling you the compost pile needs more moisture!