How to Rotate in Composting


Having your own compost bin is one easy way to make organic compost at your home with yard clippings and kitchen scraps. Although it's important to know what should or shouldn't be added to your bin, it is equally important to know how to care for those materials to ensure an even breakdown and a quick turnaround to make rich compost. By rotating, or turning, the material, you can make sure there is sufficient oxygen in your pile as well as an even distribution of microorganisms.

Step 1

Spear the pitchfork or spading fork into the pile and twist a quarter to a half turn in any direction to break up impacted areas. Spear and twist the compost pile throughout the pile until all areas of the compost and material have been disrupted.

Step 2

Dig with the pitchfork to draw away the material from the center of the pile and pull it toward the outermost edges until the center resembles a hole. Drag the old material from the sides of the pile toward the center. This material will be less broken down than the material that was previously in the center.

Step 3

Push the pitchfork under the layers of material and try to flip each forkful over so the material which was along the bottom is moved up to the top. Work over the entire pile so as much of the bottom material is brought up. The material along the bottom should look mostly like compost or lumpy soil.

Step 4

Add new material, if you have it, by digging a small hole in the center of the pile, similar to step two. Pour the material into the hole and push the older material over the top of the new material to cover it.

Step 5

Continue to rotate, or turn, your pile on a regular basis. Typically, once or twice a week is frequent enough to keep the pile healthy and breaking down. If you cannot turn the pile this often, the material will still break down but it may take longer to get finished compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Pitchfork or spading fork


  • "Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills"; Abigail R. Gehring; 2008

Who Can Help

  • How to Compost
Keywords: turning compost, rotating compost, compost maintenance

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.