accelerate compost

7 Easy Ways To Accelerate Composting In Your Backyard Compost Pile

It can take a long time for a compost heap to fully decompose. This isn’t a problem if you have the space for more than one pile, or if you have the patience to wait a year or more for finished compost.

But sometimes we need things to move along a little more quickly than the speed of mud!

Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to accelerate the composting process.

Assuming that you’re already managing your compost pile well by maintaining a good balance of green and brown ingredients, aren’t adding any non-compostable items to your compost, and are generally being a good compost caretaker, then these tips should help!

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1. ADD A HOT WATER BOTTLE TO ACCELERATE COMPOSTING

One key to making sure that your pile decomposes quickly is to keep it at the right temperature. This is usually between 90-135 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s actually quite warm.

If you’re trying to get your compost to heat up initially, try setting a hot water bottle inside! This will give the microbes a jump start in reaching the correct temperature, and it will create the right environment for your heap to start decomposing faster than it otherwise would.

2. COVER YOUR PILE

Another great way to accelerate compost is to cover it with some type of insulation when it gets cold. Especially if it’s the time of year when the weather is warm during the day when the sun is out but gets quite chilly at night, covering your pile up at night may help to regulate the temperature.

Just be sure to remove the cover in the morning so that air continues to circulate properly, allowing your compost to get enough oxygen (fresh air is very important for speedy composting!), as well as get more sunlight, and thus, warmth.

3. MAKE A LARGER PILE

A warm compost pile decomposes faster than a cold one. If you’re having trouble keeping your pile warm, consider increasing its size.

A larger pile will be less susceptible to the elements – it’ll hold enough heat to be unaffected by varying temperatures outside. More mass equals more heat!

4. TURN YOUR PILE REGULARLY

If your compost pile is very compacted, there may not be enough air circulating through it to accelerate decomposition. So if you have an open pile just sitting out in the yard, it’s probably not going to turn into compost very quickly.

Loosen things up by turning the contents of your bin once a week or so with a pitchfork and mix in some dry leaves as well if you have them available. It will help aerate everything inside while adding carbon-rich material at the same time for faster breakdown of materials.

5. ADD SOIL AMENDMENTS

If you have a compost pile that isn’t decomposing as quickly as you’d like, adding some soil amendments can help speed things up. Some good additions include:

  • aged manure
  • straw or hay
  • green waste (grass clippings, vegetable scraps)
  • blood meal or bone meal

Be sure to mix these in well with your existing compost and give it a good stir every once in awhile to help everything break down evenly.

6. ONLY COMPOST SMALL ITEMS

It makes sense that smaller pieces of waste will compost more quickly than large chunks. So if you want to accelerate your compost, make an effort to chop large items into smaller pieces.

For example, if you have a squash that’s gone bad in the refrigerator, don’t toss the whole thing into your pile as is. Chop it up so that it’ll be easier for the microbes to work on and it’ll decompose faster.

It will take a bit more time and effort on your part, but ultimately your compost will be ready much more quickly if you put in the work to do this step.

7. USE OLD COMPOST OR SOIL

Part of creating a healthy compost pile is about having the right micro-organisms living, growing, and consuming your waste. If you’re just getting started with a brand new pile, especially if you’re using a compost tumbler that isn’t in contact with the ground below, you may not have many of these micro-organisms yet.

But you can easily fix this problem by simply adding a shovel full of old compost or even just regular soil. This will give your new pile the boost it needs to get started – and once it does, you’ll start seeing faster decomposition rates.

8. USE A COMPOST ACCELERATOR

If all else fails, you can purchase pre-made compost accelerator online or at your local garden supply center.

This is simply a concentrated dose of microorganisms that you can add to your compost pile to speed things up and create finished compost more quickly. Some of them also claim to solve various other composting problems, like reducing odor and the like. If you’re having other issues, then it might be worth a try!

Just be wary of the ingredients, and purchase your accelerator from a reliable source. You don’t want to be adding a bunch of crazy chemicals to your organic compost pile!

THESE ARE EASY WAYS TO COMPOST FASTER

Adding these simple tips and tricks to your composting routine can help speed up the process, so that you can have usable compost in no time!

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