Composting is nature's way of creating new healthy soil. Nutrient-rich composted soil is created by using air, water, sunlight and plant materials in a pile which decay and turn into soil. This method is improved by the use of structured compost bins to contain the plant materials and sped up the decaying process. Compost can be made in as little as 6 weeks. There are several things to know for fast composting
Compost decays faster in a plastic compost bin. Check your local home improvement store for inexpensive bins. They are also available by mail-order. Check your local city department of waste management for composting seminars. Compost bins are often made available at these sessions for inexpensive rates. A barrel-shaped bin made to turn by hand is called a "tumbler drum." Both rectangle and round black plastic bins have a small door near ground level to scoop out the finished compost. Commercial compost bins all have lids. This helps keep in the heat which helps break down the plants more quickly.
Compost breaks down fast if you have a mix of ingredients. A balance of green plant material and brown leaves is a good start.Add all vegetable kitchen cuttings. Layer them or mix them together in the bin. Mixing adds air to the recipe, which is necessary for the decay process. Add water to the pile to begin the process of breaking down the plant materials. The more you mix the pile using a shovel or pitchfork, the faster it will break down.
Heat is created inside the pile by the mixture of plant material, air, and water. Compost piles decay fastest when the internal temperature is between 140 F and 160 F. Commercial compost bins are made from black plastic because it insulates and retains heat well. Place your bin in a sunny garden area for more heat intensity. Put your bin near a garden wall as an additional way to capture radiated heat.
Place your compost bin in easy reach of water. The compost pile needs to be kept moist but not wringing wet. Commercial compost bins are open on the bottom and have holes on the sides. This provides good air circulation and allows excess water to drain away. Too much water causes stagnation, rather than decomposition. Excessive water suffocates the helpful bacteria which aid in the decay process. Water the compost pile when the top layer appears dried out. Watch it more carefully in the hot summer months.