How To Speed Up Your Compost Pile

Compost, sometimes called black “gold,” is a valuable resource for any home gardener.


It provides plants with vital nutrients and helps feed beneficial microbes in the soil, leading to healthier, more robust plants and crops. However, waiting a long time for the compost to compost can be a bit of a drag, bringing us to the importance of “turning” compost.

First, What is Turning Compost?

Compost occurs naturally in the environment as dead vegetation and animals slowly return to the soil and replenish its nutrients. The difference between natural compost and the compost pile you’d find in a home garden is density. Natural compost spreads out over a vast space, whereas a compost pile is full and tightly packed, which limits the amount of sunlight and rainfall it can receive.

This is why turning the compost is essential. Turning compost is just how it sounds – stirring or otherwise mixing up the contents of the compost pile. It helps to do this for several reasons. Aeration is one; a tightly packed compost pile won’t have enough room for air pockets.

Stirring and fluffing it up will open much-needed oxygen spaces in the compost pile to keep the beneficial microbes alive. Additionally, stirring the compost pile will allow water to escape and redistribute the heat generated by the working microbes to cooler areas. Finally, turning the compost will introduce fresh materials to the pile’s center, feeding the hungry, hardworking microbes.

How Often Should You Turn Compost?

The general rule of thumb is to turn the compost pile every 3 to 7 days. This gives the microbes enough time to work without overeating or developing too much heat. If decomposition slows down or your pile begins to attract pests, that’s a sign you should turn your compost. Foul odors from the compost pile can also indicate the need to give it a mix. Remember, though, that mixing a smelly pile can worsen the odor for a short while.

The Benefits of Turning Compost

Compost piles are a great way to reduce the waste sent to the landfill and gain access to nutrient-laden soil. For the home gardener, compost piles can serve as an “instant” fertilizer, drastically increasing the growth and yield of their vegetables, herbs, and fruits. And since turning compost speeds up the decomposition process, there’s more nutrient-rich soil to go around.

In conclusion, turning compost is a necessary part of the process for gardeners. Compost piles offer a great way to reduce waste and improve soil quality. Turning the pile ensures that those benefits reach their full potential.

The general rule is to turn the compost pile every 3 to 7 days – this lets the microbes work without getting overheated or overfed. When done correctly, the benefits are clear. You have better soil, larger crops, and fewer trips to the landfill.

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