View Full Version : Barrel Composter problems

05-27-2009, 01:54 AM
Hi folks, I"m new here and on the trail of answers re: composting. I hope I'm in the right section of the forum.

Last year my husband got me a nice barrel composter. I began filling it, following directions. I used only vegetable matter, leaves, and turned it once a day.

Within about 6 weeks, the contents smelled very bad. It wasn't draining properly so I think it got too wet. Overall, it was just amazingly stinky and we couldn't do much with it. It wintered this way, and still smelled awful when spring first came. I turned it on it's side to drain it completely. Finally it seems to stink less. I did empty the contents into my garden yesterday and get to start over.

Does this sound abnormal or like I did something wrong? How can I make good compost in a barrel composter?

05-28-2009, 12:29 AM
Anyone? Any composting knowledge at all? I guess this forum isn't as active as I thought!

05-28-2009, 01:04 PM
Too much water. Too little brown matter.

Enclosed tumblers do NOT need supplemental watering.


04-07-2010, 02:05 PM
Oh my! I had the same exact problem, honey! Or should I say that my Mother In Law had the same problem (I'm a Brooklyn Gardener -- so it's different). From what I've been told, certain composters will drain better than others. Obviously, that isn't to say that the composter (http://www.organic-composter.com/) your husband purchased isn't any good. Most composters are generally the same. Some just require a little more maintenance.

Take into consideration that compost is well, compost. It's kinda icky and generally it will smell bad. The stuff you're putting into your brew is bio-degradable and well, for lack of a better term, rotting (or simply decomposing/oxidizing). You're doing just fine....what helped my mother in law was sifting the ingredients to make sure everything is "well mixed." If you do that, I'm sure you'll be just fine.

Good luck! :)

04-07-2010, 02:07 PM
One more question! What did you put into your compost? That could have a MAJOR effect on how your compost works out!

06-20-2011, 02:06 PM
If your compost is not getting enough heat, it will stink. Make sure your tumbler is not in a highly shaded area. If it is, try to move it to a spot that gets more sun. Heat speeds up the decomposition process. It will also help keep the stink factor to a minimum.

As I think someone said above, you may not have enough brown matter in there (dried leaves, maybe some grass clippings, etc). If you've got nothing but wet, gooey, fruit & veggie waste in there, its going to stink a lot more. Try mixing in some brown matter.

Hope this helps! :)