Composting.....new to it!! Help!!

Please, I wonder if anybody can help. I'm asking this on behalf of m
parents. They have recently started a compost heap, you know loca council incentive to recycle etc. I'd say they've had it 2-3 months. They've only put fruit/veg scraps, tea bags and egg shells on it nothing from the garden as yet.
Mum said she went to it the other day, lifted the lid and closed i VERY QUICKLY as there was, what she thought looked like loads o mosquitos in it. She's not 100% sure, could have been tiny flies o similar.
Sorry to be so vague, it's making me itch just typing about it. Mu has been badly bitten by something over the past week and now she' beginning to connect the compost with the mossie???? Sorry if I soun dim, but any advice would be most welcome, and i'll pass it on to m parents.
Thanks so much in advance
-- Lady Penelope
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I wouldn't put in egg shells because they don't rot down, but I put in everything else. All those little bugs are doing the good work of composting, let them get on with it.
If you have only small quantities of kitchen waste why not go for a wormery instead? http://www.wigglywigglers.co.uk /

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Fungus Gnats A real PIA in overwatered houseplants but no real problem outside. See if you can find some grass clippings to mix in .
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or Fruit Flies....every batch of bananas we get from Wal-Mart carries their eggs in and annoys the crap out of me a few days later. Kitchen scraps are probably staying wet and fruity which they like :>)
Grass clippings are good but are also high in nitrogen. I'd suggest a good carbon source that is also dry to help dry it out a bit -- dead leaves for instance...my neighbors toss nicely collected bags of them weekly :>)
hth John

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I had a gnat problem in my compost pile when I threw in melon rinds. I learned that to help with the problem, be sure to bury the rinds underneath the other materials. Also, she might want to look into adding some grass clippings (if not hers then the neighbors?) or some dead leaves.
Good luck, Jenn
Lady Penelope wrote:

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Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe -
the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. - Immanuel Kant
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Could be fruit flies, or something like that. get your parents to add some lawn clippings and leaves.and get someone to stir things up. If your municipality has a compost center you usually can get a couple of bags for free or very cheap. it will help speed up your parents own compost.
--
:) Lynn
!

"Lady Penelope" < snipped-for-privacy@gardenbanter.co.uk> wrote in message
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The insects are probably not mosquitos; more likely fruit flies or fungus gnats. Your mention of "cover" and the description of what's in it lead me to believe you're trying to compost in a sealed container in smallish batches. Eventually, you will get compost that way, but it's pretty stinky because the anaerobic bacteria are doing a lot of work.
There are a number of ways to compost. Probably most suitable for a single household's kitchen scraps is a worm bin: http://yucky.kids.discovery.com/flash/worm/pg000223.html
Traditional hot composting involves enough mass to get the compost up to temperature... in my experience that's about a one meter cube, probably too much for what your kitchen is producing. If you do it that way, keep the compost turned so oxygen can get into the center -- you'll get nice compost with little or no stinkiness. If compost heats to a high enough temp, it also kills weed seeds, plant diseases, etc.
A third option is to simply dig a shallow trench in between rows of plantings, drop the scraps in the trench and cover. I find in our climate (which is similar to the climate of southern England), about a one year rotation to get back to the same spot for digging a new trench works perfectly.
Kay
Kay
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Ensure your compost mix is correct. The contents need to be balanced
You need greens and browns. Greens are soft grassy, leafy, kitche waste, veg peelings and the like. Browns are the twiggy things, shru prunnings, scrunched up newspaper, egg boxes, straw, cardboard tube (loo roll insides).
Turning the top spit (nothing energetic!!) once a week will help, s will male "night water".
So where should I put my bin? Your bin needs to be near enough to the house so that the habit o diverting kitchen waste from the dustbin becomes second nature. I should be placed directly onto soil, to allow access to worms and othe soil organisms. Ideally the bin will also receive some direct sunlight otherwise the composting process will progress more slowly.
A bin that smells is most likely to have an imbalance in its three mai ingredients: air, moisture and materials.
A lack of air causes the composting micro-organisms to be replaced wit ones that work anaerobically. A by-product of this is a smell of rotte eggs. Re-introducing air into the bin should resolve this problem.
An excess of moisture, (which can be caused by too many greens, a these have high moisture content) can clog up the pore spaces whic would allow air to circulate and may produce a strong smell of ammonia Adding more browns should resolve this problem.
Arh, my compost bin doesnt heat up. The heat in a compost bin is generated by the activity of th composting bacteria. If they stop producing heat it is usually becaus they are waiting for some more material to be added. If material i added regularly then the problem is usually insufficient air.
The balance of greens and browns is also important, as too many green will quickly deplete the oxygen available and too many browns wil prevent the decomposition process from getting started.
Finally, a compost bin which has been allowed to dry out will se little activity. Slowly adding water over a number of days should brin it back to life. The compost bins contents should feel as damp as wrung out sponge.
Have fun
-- dotCompost
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