Compost is an excellent soil conditioner and natural fertilizer. However it can take quite a while for it to break down into a form that you can use. Luckily there are a handful of simple things you can do to help speed up compost times without much effort.
In general the smaller the pieces you add to your compost bin or pile, the faster they will decompose. Cutting, chopping, or shredding food scraps and garden waste up before placing them in can really help to break them down faster.
This usually doesn’t take much extra time at all. And many items such as banana peels can simply be ripped up into pieces by hand. Before placing egg shells in the compost you’ll want to crush them up, either by hand or using a blender.
Mix It Up
The composting process requires oxygen. And when things get too compacted, wet, or too hot it decreases that oxygen which means slower composting times.
To ensure that your material stays aerated you’ll want to turn or mix it periodically. Compost tumblers should be turned around every three to four days while piles need to be mixed around once a week.
Moisture can really help to speed up composing time. In fact you’ll want to keep your compost material moist at all times for the best results. You don’t want to let it dry out. Alternatively you don’t want to drown your material in water either.
When you don’t have a bin with a lid, covering your pile during periods of heavy rain can help keep thing moist but not drenched. If it does get too wet you can always turn it and add some extra “brown,” material.
Heat Things Up
Heat is crucial to creating healthy compost. If your pile doesn’t heat up at first you can try a few things to help get things going more quickly. Adding more “green,” material often works as it is rich in nitrogen.
You may want to try adding manure or blood specifically. Believe it or not a little known trick is to add urine to compost for a fast nitrogen boost. Another alternative is to try and increase the size of your pile.
Keep Things Going In Winter
When the colder winter months arrive composting can slow down considerably. However this doesn’t mean you have to stop adding material and lose out on valuable composting time. You can keep things going all through the winter by simply adding a plastic layer over your pile to keep it insulated.
By following these tips you can help to speed up compost times considerably. So be sure to try them out so you can enrich your soil and fertilize your garden as quickly as possible.
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