The humidity is defined as the content of water in the compost with respect to any matter that is in the interior. Is most often expressed in percentage, it will indicate what proportion of water to the entire mass of compost.
But what is the proper amount of water in the compost? How can you tell?
Determination of Moisture
Always check the moisture in the center of the composter. The top and sides are usually not too representative, since they have greater exposure to the outdoors and are always changed. With experience can be determined by appearance, but first is probably more effective method of kibble. Consists in taking a small proportion of the sample by hand (you can use latex gloves to avoid staining your hands, for example) and press these remnants, pretending a kind of kibble by hand. Then three things can happen. The first is that, by pressing the sample, it begins to drip. This would mean that there is excess moisture. The second is that after pressing the sample, the open hand, it is moist but not dripping. It would be the best possible situation, because the moisture would be correct. The third case is that, when opening the hand after tightening, it was dry kibble fall apart. Indicate a lack of water. But there may be problems missing or extra water? And if so, how to solve it?
Lack of water (humidity below 40%)
When you pour too much dry material in the compost, if you get too much sun or if the remains are turned over, probably detect that the process is too slow. This is caused by a lack of water causes organisms can not live well, and therefore do not perform their duties. As a result of this lack, not detect the temperature rise characteristic of the degradation and see that the remains are dry, without breaking down.
The solution is simple: add more water. First try increasing the humidity by pouring more remains wet (kitchen scraps and green vegetation) and decreasing the proportion of dry debris. If, even so, the humidity still remains low, then we can moisten the compost with water, always trying to distribute it throughout the compost (you can use a watering can) with a subsequent rolling of material to distribute it further.
Excess water (above 60% â€‹â€‹humidity)
Excess water is common to be accompanied by another nuisance: odor. The water forms a thick film around our organic waste and keeps oxygen from reaching the material to degrade. Moreover, the appearance of the compost is of a clay.
In this case, to solve the problem we have to add more dry material (dry leaves, broken branches, wood chips natural untreated wood ashes without additives ...). You can also stop pouring kitchen waste for a few days until the humidity drops. The old newspaper is another option, provided that the pages are black and white and color inks that are more toxic components that can affect living composter. In any case, it is always advisable to have spare dry material (in order to troubleshoot specific humidity). Can accumulate crushed leaves or pruning or leave a part of the lawn to dry and store. After adding the dry material, it should be removed. In this case, remove provides two advantages: first distribute the moisture and, on the other, exposing the compost into the air to dry. We suggest turning and aerating the remains most often when the humidity is high.
And if there are areas very dry and very wet areas, what should I do?
The two problems will be explained in the previous two sections. Total moisture is probably correct, but what happens is that it is poorly distributed (layers or zones are observed with different humidity). It's very typical to find the sides of the composter drier than the center, because they are more exposed to the outside. In this case, the solution is much simpler: it should be mixed, that is, mix the dry with the wet material to compensate for both humidities. If after doing this, the compost is dry or wet, consult the previous sections.
What determines the humidity?
The location of the compost is one of the constraints. For example, if you get much direct sun, will tend to be dry. If the problem is location, probably the best solution is to change the compost in place, if that is possible. Over time, you will learn what proportion of dry and wet right to the compost and what their specific needs according to their location.
Similarly, weather conditions can also determine moisture. For example, it is common that after a rain, the humidity of the compost has increased.
Finally, the moisture also depends on everything that we put into the compost, ie organic waste. If not taken into account that you have to pour both dry and wet material, probably not good moisture control compost. The proper proportions are three parts by a dry wet so.