How to Fix Anaerobic Compost

Last Updated on June 16th, 2023

We may earn commissions for purchases made through links on our site. Learn more on our about us page.

When compost lacks oxygen, many good bacteria and microbes will die off to be replaced by acidic and harmful ones. Do not fret, and there is hope. Just take the soil from an anaerobic compost pile and create a workstation to separate and aerate the dirt.

This can be done in a wheelbarrow, using a sifter and simple gardening tools to simply break apart the sticking soils and get oxygen back into the mix.

Be sure to let the soil dry out, then when placing the dirt back into a heap, be sure to change out any containers that were being previously used.

A worm in moist clay - How to Fix Anaerobic Compost?

Can Anaerobic Compost be Saved?

This is strong. Yes, there will just need to be a period of time to let the dirt dry out and let the bad bacteria die off, which shouldn’t take more than a couple of days. The solution is to get air back into the dirt and to get the moisture out of the pile.

Consider breaking up the containers’ soils, shifting the grains to allow optimal drying, and mixing the compost into healthier systems already rocking and rolling.

This will save compost and build healthier compost living systems, which is an easy way to save your compost from going anaerobic.


What is the First Thing You Should do?

The first thing to do is isolate the area where you’re going to be working the soil, and these compost heaps are known to grow deadly bacteria like E. coli or salmonella if not taken care of right away.

Then, remove the compost from the container and discard the container (it can be fixed depending on the material).

Most importantly, break the dirt clumps apart, which can be efficiently done with a miner’s sifter or similar gardener’s tools. These chunks are the parts that will contain the unhealthy microbes that can harm a human and will need to be prioritized.


What Should You Add to Fix it?

If you are on top of your heap and have noticed the compost turning into an anaerobic state, natural materials can be added to open and increase porosity. In other words, adding items like wood chips or other tree matter can improve the aeration within the heap.

More importantly, the slow decomposition rate of the tree materials will allow oxygen to penetrate the pile and maintain anaerobic-free conditions. Then, when the worms come back or show signs of becoming healthier, you will know you have fixed the compost environment.


How Long Does it Take to Fix it?

These two systems are completely the opposite when it comes to approaches to creating the best soils, but that being said, it will take time for compost to become aerobic again.

The average compost living system will need a full month to month and a half to fully process the materials added.

The introduction of oxygen into the pile will keep the bad microbes from forming cultures, but be mindful of over-stirring, which can kill the healthy compost microbe cultures a gardener desires.

Consult any expert gardeners or florists about the composting materials they use in their gardens.


How Can You Tell if Your Compost is Recovering?

The first sign of healthy compost is loose but rich-looking soil, and this is the obvious sign that the pile is at its healthiest.

Another will be the smell test; when compost is still working its magic on the heap, it will smell stinky, but when it is ready, the smell turns to an earthy dirt aroma of freshly tilled soil.

Again, there is the farmer’s hand whose touch can tell if the soil is good, which should feel like reaching into a bag of Miracle Grow and letting the richness fall from the palm and through the fingers.


Final Thoughts on How to Fix Anaerobic Compost

Nothing makes up for having good rich dirt to grow your plants; it may not speed up growth, but it will provide the nutrients needed for strong and healthy plant growth.

Composting will take time, lots of work, and patience, but the value comes from the foods and crops you grow in the soil.

Take the time to research, and get the facts from the local expert gardeners, farmers, and florists, before going away from traditional knowledge on the subject.

Of course, there are going to be certain mixtures of fruits and vegetables that work together well, but then there will be others that do not occur in unbalanced amounts.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply