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How to Speed Up Compost

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How to Speed Up Compost

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Overview

Composting is an effective and efficient method to reduce waste and add nutrients to the garden. A hurdle that many people have to overcome is the amount of time compost takes to go from organic waste material to finished compost. There are methods you can use to speed up the compost process. These steps can decrease the time needed to produced finished compost.

Step 1

Create small chunks of organic material. Shred leaves, hay, straw and paper. Cut up vegetable waste into small chunks or chop them up in the blender. This will increase the surface area exposed to oxygen, microbes, worms, water and heat. Smaller pieces also allow for faster decompostion of the material.

Step 2

Create the proper mixture of brown and green material. Composted material should contain a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 30:1, according to University of California Extension. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recommends beginning the pile with a 4-inch layer of leaves, followed by 2 inches of grass clippings. Repeat the layers up to 4 feet high. Add the kitchen waste. The University of Illinois describes this as using one-part green material for every one-part brown material.

Step 3

Use a composter of an appropriate size. University of Illinois Extension suggests keeping the composter within a range of a 3-foot to 5-foot cube. This is because the ideal core temperature of a compost bin should be 140 to 160 degrees F. Compost material needs heat to decompose. Using a smaller area slows down the process; while using a larger area limits the ability to turn the compost effectively.

Step 4

Place the compost bin in a sunny location. Paint the bin black to hold in the sun. This will allow the core to heat up faster, which will speed up the composting process.

Step 5

Use a pitchfork or garden fork to move the material in the center to the outside allowing the outside material to fall into the center and begin the composting process again. Chop the compost vertically with the pitchfork. Turn the compost every other week; this will yield usable compost within three months.

Step 6

Add redworms to speed up the compost process by eating the organic material. Use a small amount of worms to start the colony. As the worms eat, they will create compost and produce more worms. Your colony will grow to where you can have one pound of compost produced per every half pound of worms.

Things You'll Need

  • Blender
  • Compost bin or drum
  • Black paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Redworms
  • Pitchfork

References

  • Northern Gardening: Making Compost
  • University of Illinois Extension: The Composting Process
  • Compost Info Guide: Making Fast Compost With the Berkeley Method
  • University of California at Davis: The Rapid Composting Method
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: How to Make Compost
Keywords: speed up compost, increasing compost production, composting faster

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.

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