Making proper compost is much like baking a cake.

It’s a balance of wet and dry ingredients with each ingredient playing its part in developing the finished product.

The heat generated within the heap is the equivalent of what happens to a cake when its put in the oven at the right temperature for the right length of time.

If you get the C/N ratio wrong or don’t add enough water, the compost you make is similar to the cake you get when you have the wrong balance of ingredients or get the oven temperature wrong.

Similarly, if you under or over cook it, you can experience spectacular failure.

Compost is the product of aerobic breakdown (in the presence of oxygen).

Proper compost should not smell.

If it starts to smell, it means that there is anaerobic breakdown (not enough oxygen) and there has been insufficient twigs or not enough mixing of the raw materials. This is when you are make silage.

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