Will my compost smell?
The odor of compost is a common concern, but it shouldn’t be. Good compost has an earthy aroma to it. If it has an offensive smell like ammonia or sulfur, it is not “cooking” properly. In order for compost to cook properly, you need a good mix of heat, moisture, and oxygen in your pile so that bacteria and microorganisms can do their job.
Bacteria begin the composting process. Aerobic bacteria need air to live, while anaerobic bacteria can survive without it. Both aid in the decay of organic material, but the aerobic bacteria are particularly helpful because they work faster than their anaerobic cousins and do not produce an odor while working. If your compost pile begins to smell, that usually means that your aerobic friends are not getting enough oxygen. The solution? Get a pitchfork and turn your pile.