When Is the Compost Pile Finished?

Views: 12274 | Last Update: 2008-06-16
Learn how to start and maintain a garden in this free gardening video. View Video Transcript

About this Author

Tia Pinney

Video Transcript

Okay now you've had your compost pile and it has been composting for most of the year. Compost can take anywhere from six weeks to six months. It totally depends on your weather, your material and all those kinds of things. Now basically the way you can tell that it is finished, is when you don't have a lot of recognizable material. Now when we have this shovel full here of what I am calling finished compost, you can see that there is still some bits in here. Looks like a piece of an old gourd; that's not a big deal. It will decompose in the soil. Here some more gourd but pretty much from there on out, there is really nothing in here. It looks like dirt and that is exactly what it is. It is organic material. It is not dirt. It is all one hundred percent organic. There are not a lot of minerals in here because this is all decomposed plant material. Now what you want to do is take this material out of the bottom of your compost. The easiest way to do that is to actually shift your pile. Once you have filled this up and it is composed for a season, what I tend to do is take this off, set up a new space next to it and then move my pile. I take whatever is on top and isn't finished and move it into the bin so it will continue to finish and then take the bottom section which is finished and use it in a garden. This is a five gallon bucket and these four by eight beds, it would be perfect to put a five gallon bucket of compost on the bed every season. At least one, if not two buckets full. That would be really good for your soil.