Though composting can offer a virtually endless amount of fertilizer for almost no financial cost, some disadvantages to composting exist. The entire process can be quite lengthy. If not properly maintained, a foul odor may result. Further, composting also may encourage some to opt out of buying a fertilizer, even though one may still be needed. For these and other reasons, composting may not be something all gardeners are comfortable doing.
The time commitment involved in proper composting may be the biggest disadvantage. In order for the compost to decay uniformly and properly, turning the compost approximately once a month is a good idea, as long as your area is not in the midst of a hard freeze. Thus, any time spent looking after dead, decaying matter is time you can not spend looking after living plants.
Many people may not realize that compost is an effective fertilizer, but only to a certain extent. While composting can be used as a supplement to normal fertilizers, it is generally not able to complete replace them. For example, composting may be lacking in nitrogen compared to other products. Manure has approximately twice the nitrogen of most compost products. Therefore, using a fertilizer is sometimes essential. In other words, you will spend valuable time maintaining the compost and still need to buy fertilizer.
Though this may be a bigger problem in some areas than others, the fact is that composting has the potential to attract pests, most notably rats and mice. This is especially true if the compost material includes table scraps. Another important consideration is insects. Decaying material generally attracts many different varieties. So that is something to keep in mind if bugs are a problem for you.
Some people may shy away from a compost bin for the reason of odor. It is true that compost bins have the potential to be very smelly, especially if you put your table scraps into them. However, odor is a problem that can be easily solved by one of two solutions. Either do not put your table scraps in with the composted material, or make sure they are buried at least several inches down.
This is another major disadvantage to the composting process. While this may seem a shallow way to look at it, this issue is a major one for many gardeners. They spend hours making sure their yards or garden areas have vibrant colors and healthy green plants. Having a section dedicated to compost could certainly detract from the overall appearance of the area.