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Heating up the compost pile - what's your suggestion?

502 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  brandywine
Looking for tips on making faster compost. It's seems like it takes FOREVER for me to have compost ready. I keep hearing how you should have compost in 3 months yada yada!

I use kitchen scraps, lawn and field cuttings, straw, some dried leaves and add a little garden soil. I stir whenever I can and I think the pile is big enough.

Any tips, opinions, suggestions?

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Sounds like you are doing everything right. Does it have enough moisture, it should be like a damp sponge, but not wet and slimy. I have heard it also needs to be at least 3 ft high to really heat up. Also, what about putting some comfrey and nettles in your pile, and/or adding comfrey/nettle compost tea. I find these herbs help speed up the process. I have been to talks where the speaker felt that faster is not necessarily better as far as the nutrient levels in compost are concerned.
Thanks, I'll try the comfrey as we have plenty growing. You are talking about the fresh leaves, right, not dry?

Maybe I just need to have a bigger pile. I kitchen compost into black bins with holes all winter and it pretty much stays frozen. Then in spring I dump into the pile and stir and have to add dry stuff because it's pretty slimy at first. I just moved the pile to a sunnier spot, it was pretty shady before, maybe that will help. Maybe I just need some more patience!
I don't do anything to my compost pile. I sort of follow no rules for composting but it seems to work. I just throw scraps, horse manure occasionally, and cuttings, etc. on it and let it pile up. It is is the corner of the yard in the shade but it gets very hot here and it seems to compost very quickly for some reason.

I will turn it eventually!
Yeah- I use the fresh leaves, just pile them on. Also, does your compost pile have a "cover" of soil or straw. I think this helps keep the heat in.
All my life I have watched my Moms 2 bins and I really think it has to do with size. Hers are large and mine is small her works fast mine does not, her is in shade and cool canyon air, mine sits out on a warm hillside. We both 'feed' ours the same.
Sometimes I add some nitrogen rich fertilizer, the granulated kind, like guano or fishmeal. It's easier to turn throught the pile and can get things jump started.
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