The mistake? I didn't turn my compost. Not at all. Not once. Okay, well, I have three bins of compost, and about a month or so ago I did turn the one bin that is furthest along, but the other two were terribly neglected. About mid-summer I started to notice a lot of fruit flies around the one bin. And I mean a lot - they'd come up in clouds every time I lifted the lid. Then a couple of weeks ago I noticed some wasps - and a lot of bigger flies.
Thing about compost is that it is really easy to make - if you keep up with it. If you let it go, it turns pretty frickin' disgusting:
- The smell is bad - if you have good compost it shouldn't smell at all. Bad compost smells like an outhouse.
- When it isn't rotting properly, compost also LOOKS more like the contents of a slimy outhouse instead of dirt.
- I've never seen so many maggots in my life. When you have that many flies ... there are maggots.
- I always have spiders, but this year, with all the flies, we have many more spiders than usual.
- wasps eat both spiders and flies - so not surprizing that they are hanging around.
The good thing about compost is that it tends to correct itself. Stir it up, add dry stuff if it's too wet, wet stuff if it's too dry, and in a couple of weeks the stink is gone and the pile is steaming. So I stirred and added some leaves and we'll see what happens. I've never had so many maggots before, though, so I'm not sure what's going to happen there, but hopefully they will die.
So learn from my mistake, people. If you have compost, turn it! It really doesn't take that long and it is really necessary.