Green Johanna FAQ's

My Compost Smells Of Ammonia, Is That Right?

No, your compost should hardly have an aroma. You have probably been putting in too much nitrogen-rich waste, such as grass clippings, meat or fish. To counter the smell and regain the normal harmony of the compost add in some extra garden soil or shredded newspaper. Mix this in and then take a small batch of the finished compost or half-composted material from lower down the unit and sprinkle over the top.


Can I Still Use The Composter If I Only Have Kitchen Waste?

Yes, if you add layers of paper products (paper/newspaper/cardboard/toilet roll tubes) and sawdust and wood chips. These provide carbon to balance the nitrogen in the food waste.

What Are Rich In Carbon?

Twigs, branches, dried leaves, sawdust, woodchips, paper products, crushed eggshells, garden soil.

What Are Rich In Nitrogen?

Eggs, fish, meat, mixed food waste, fresh grass clippings.

The Compost In The Green Johanna Smells Bad. How Do I Get Rid Of The Odour?

It’s important to understand the cause of the smell, which in this case is due to poor aeration. You will need to add some chopped hedge clippings and other coarse garden waste. This must now be well mixed in and air forced around all the interior of the unit. If at this stage the compost is looking too wet, it may help to add some shredded newspaper to absorb any excess moisture.

How Do I Stop Ants From Getting In The Compost?

You need to keep your compost moist; ants are attracted to nice dry soil-like materials. With a small watering can, gently add water to your mix and stir in well. You want the consistency to feel as damp as a squeezed bath sponge.

There Are Lots Of Flies In And Around My Compost, Is This Normal?

No, this is an indication of poorly covered, nitrogen-rich content.  Firstly, mix the surface layer well and cover with fresh soil and clippings. Secondly, check that you are shutting the lid securely when you are filling up the composter.

What Insects Do I Want Living In My Compost?

The more insects and creatures munching away in your Green Johanna the warmer it will get and the composting process will continue at pace. So when you mix your layers look out for: mites, worms, false-scorpions, woodlice, springtails, nematodes, centipedes and earwigs.

It Looks Like The Activity In My Composter Has Stopped, What Have I Done Wrong?

There are six main reasons for a composter to stop working. Read through the options below to identify your cause:

Too much carbon-rich material, such as  dry leaves, twigs and paper, so add nitrogen-rich material, such as food waste or fresh grass and mix in.

Too much coarse material, such as twigs, so the compost is too airy and dry. Remove this material, chop it finely and re-mix in thoroughly.

A lack of material in general will always slow the process down and in some cases stop it completely. Add more waste materials, maintaining the carbon-nitrogen balance, to start up the process again.

The whole mix is too solid and compact, strangling the air supply throughout. Give the whole thing a really good stir and add some very finely chopped twigs to help with the aeration.

The compost has dried out, stalling the process. You need to be adding more moist food waste and water, stirring thoroughly. The ideal consistency is like a squeezed damp bath sponge. If you take a large handful of the compost and squeeze it, only a couple of drops of liquid should come out.

Cold weather and a poorly-fed Green Johanna can bring a halt to the composting process. During the colder months make sure you are topping up the layers every day and consider putting an insulating Winter Jacket on the composter.

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