When a Compost Heap is Ready

Views: 12007 | Last Update: 2008-07-31
When a Compost Heap is Ready - Provided by eHow
Learn when compost heaps or compost bins are ready depending on the temperature and climate and learn about using mulch in this free gardening video. View Video Transcript

About this Author

Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi. This is Yolanda Vanveen on behalf of Expert Village. In this series, we are learning all about how to start a compost heap. In this segment, we are going to talk about how to know when your compost is ready to use. When I add compost to my piles, a lot of time, they are really warm. For example, when I've mulched all the tree branches, it was hot. It was steamy for like three months. At that point, you would never use the mulch. Grass clippings and leaves, a lot of times, they compost much quicker and when I'm deciding whether it's ready or not, the first factor is if it's warm or not. If it's heat...if there's any heat coming off of it or if you are standing near it and it's warm, then wait; always give it a couple more months and wait until your compost is really cold. My compost here is almost ready to use. It's only been here for three or four months on these grass clippings, but if I go underneath, from the very first grass clippings, it is starting to look like soil. It is looking really broken up. It doesn't look that much different from the compost that I purchased from the garden center. So, I wouldn't say it's quite ready yet, because the pine needles still look like pine needles and the leaves still look like leaves. But, when it's totally broken down and looks like earth, then that's a good time to use your mulch. The best thing about mulch and using all of my compost, I can use it as the base of my garden beds and then put the mulch that I purchased from the garden center on top and it seems to be a great combination and that way I save a lot of money on the compost that I've purchased. In the next segment, we'll talk about how to mulch with compost.