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Tips to get compost to break down faster?

Discussion in 'Composting and Recycling' started by ttcycle, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. ttcycle

    ttcycle Regular

    Apart from turning regularly, are there any suggestions to get the compost to break down sooner rather than later?
     
  2. biggs682

    biggs682 Regular

    Location:
    wellingborough
    wilkinsons sell a grainy powder that speeds the process up
     
  3. Sandra Piddock

    Sandra Piddock Active Member

    When we had a compost bin, we read that urine helps speed up the breakdown. Sounds gross, but it worked. My hysband used to do what he had to in the watering can, then water the compost pile with the rose in place so it spread out nicely. He did that once a week, and turned the compost each time so it spread through.
     
  4. summerdays

    summerdays Well-Known Member

    Location:
    North of Bristol
    I've heard of that ... but also that man are better than women in that respect - to do with the hormones I guess?
     
  5. Spinney

    Spinney Active Member

    I haven't been trying to turn mine over the winter in case there is anything trying to hibernate in there. Any idea when the risk of disturbing wildlife is past?
     
  6. summerdays

    summerdays Well-Known Member

    Location:
    North of Bristol
    Hedgehogs are still hibernating, as my eldest went to visit them in a sanctuary in Yate I think just last week to take photographs for the final project. Apparently they were very cute.
     
  7. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Under the Patio
    I think it's just easier for guys to wee on compost heaps...
     
  8. Night Train

    Night Train Maker of Things Staff Member

    It's trying to stop them that's the problem....:D
     
    Happyflowerlady and hopless500 like this.
  9. hopless500

    hopless500 Cake Goddess

    I don't turn my compost heap at all or do anything special to it. I just make sure that stuff is vaguely layered as it goes in - alternate grass clippings and then veggie peelings and stuff, and the odd bit of cardboard torn up. It's covered in a bit of carpet - it all gets wet when it rains, dries out when it's sunny. I leave it for a year, and I get great compost :)
     
  10. thomas pendrake

    thomas pendrake Regular

    Earthworms help greatly with the compost bed and can also help when you go fishing. You may need to introduce some worms to begin with, and you want to have them in your garden as well.
     
  11. Happyflowerlady

    Happyflowerlady Active Member

    Location:
    Northern Alabama
    Heat is one of the things that helps the compost to ferment and turn into rich earth. I used to have a rabbit, and I always dumped the tray onto my compost pile, and that will heat up the grass clippings or whatever else is in there and help it to work faster.
    Now that i dont have a rabbit, I use alfalfa pellets. They will also ferment and heat up, and help the compost to turn into soil.
    I also just take some of the pellets and put them into the hole when I am planting something, such as a rose bush, and then they will decompose and feed the plant as they do that. Alfalfa pellets are easy to work with, not messy or smelly when they are dry, and you can put some in a coffee can and just sprinkle some around your plants.
     
    Meowmie likes this.
  12. Meowmie

    Meowmie Guest

    For the most part, I don't have a compost pile. I started my garden as a lasagna garden, so each year I leave a different 4' section of the garden free from plants and add compost material to it. I use a hand tiller on it once in awhile , very little maintenance. The biggest problem is getting other family members to remember which spot is the compost site each year. I was constantly digging food scraps out of my tomato patch last year!
     
  13. Spinney

    Spinney Active Member

    Do you think it is OK to dig out my compost heaps now, without the risk of finding hibernating creatures in them? It's been warm for a few weeks now...
     
  14. Meowmie

    Meowmie Guest

    What kind of creatures do you have in your area? I've never found anything but fat, friendly worms in my compost. But Deer don't hibernate and that is what is in our yard all the time. I know they don't hibernate because most of the winter we spend dodging them on the road, and they like to stand in our driveway and we have to wait for them to take their sweet time moving on so we can pull in. And I am not out in the country.
     
  15. Spinney

    Spinney Active Member

    Last year I disturbed a nest of what I think were field mice.
     
  16. oleskool

    oleskool Active Member

    I had 3 deer in my yard this morning and I am not in the country either. I like the idea of adding earth worms to your composite.
     
  17. kfander

    kfander Member

    Location:
    Maine
    I don't usually mention it, but I do that. It does seem to help. Or at least, I tell myself that it does.

    I don't turn my compost piles at all. I just try to create as many air spaces as I can. This can be done by adding some rocks at the base of it, by adding cardboard boxes full of compostables to the pile without breaking it up, and by periodically adding layers of newspaper or flattened cardboard. Since I add every bit of our food scraps to the compost pile, it does attract critters. I will put a wildlife camera out there every now and then, just to see, and the ones that I have seen have included regular visits from a raccoon, neighborhood cats, someone's dog with a collar, and several mice and similar creatures. I figure that anything they might do to my compost pile would simply serve to break it up quicker and if the mice dig into it, they are creating air spaces that will encourage composting. I don't add worms to my pile, but I certainly end up with enough of them.