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Gnats in my compost trash can

Spring City, TN

The black can has LOTS of 1/2" holes in it, top, bottom, sides. I filled it with anything from the garden that is trimmed off or pulled up -- not diseased, just done. Plus veggie scraps from the kitchen. Plus the soilless mix from some of last years' annuals. Plus a bag of withered clementines my neighbor gave me -- chopped into eighths.

Now I have gnats.

This is my vegetable garden compost. My flower garden compost -- and there is a distinct difference, I even LABELED them -- has dog poo and fresh grass clippings and straw in equal parts, and oddly even with the dog poo, no gnats and no smell. And I never water it because there are no lids so it rains in the compost bins and the dog poo and grass clippings are already moist.

I'm thinking my veggie garden composter has too many greens and not enough browns -- would last year's oak leaves chopped finely help? Straw? And I have a LOT of horse stall leavings I could add for good microbes and bacteria?

Suggestions before I dump it in to a wheel barrow, stir and shovel back into the trashcann composter with ________?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Gnats really love the kitchen scraps. Can you bury new scraps completely in fine material to exclude the gnats? I don't think you will help with browns because I think the gnats will find a place to get to the fruit and vegetables.

Plan A let the scraps get dry enough so that gnats won't be drawn, then add to compost.
PLan B in cool weather, I try to hold my scraps in a lidded bucket for a week, ( i e, exclude the gnats in some way) then bury them well as I turn the whole bin of compost. Saving up three buckets of scraps in late winter really kickstarted my cold pile of leaves this spring.
plan C view gnats as bird food and let em have it. the gnat larvae are processing the scraps for you. THis method works a whole lot nicer if you have your compost far far away from the house.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I'm thinking my veggie garden composter has too many greens and not enough browns -- would last year's oak leaves chopped finely help? Straw?

I think that's likely, just because too-many-greens encourages slime and smell. Also, just letting the whole bin run drier MAY help.

Burying the scraps or drying them out before adding should help a lot, as long as you don't turn the compost before the scraps have "merged" into the compost.

Saaaay ... what kind of scraps? Maybe this is why so many sources say NOT to compost meat, dairy, oily or fatty things. I compost a few meat scraps occasionaly (chopped small), but I bury all my kitchen waste so it's less unsightly.

>> And I have a LOT of horse stall leavings I could add for good microbes and bacteria?

Drown out the scraps? Couldn't hurt!


Spring City, TN

My compost bin scraps are all kitchen veggie scraps or when I'm pruning something in the garden -- not for disease -- so I just started adding a big handful of dried hardwood leaves over every green thing I put in there and no more gnats.

THANKS for all the advice.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Ba-da-bing ba-da-boom!

Great. Also, that multiplies the amount of organic matter you'll produce.

I think of compost "greens" as being like meat in a soup. If I add a little more meat, I can add lots of veggies or noodles.

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