The timeline of composting depends on the type and size of materials being composted, the temperature and moisture of the compost pile, and the type of composting method being used. In general, the process of composting can take anywhere from several weeks to several months for a basic backyard compost pile. Commercial composting operations may take anywhere from several weeks to a year or more to fully break down materials. However they use a lot of different ways to speed up composting process.
Composting is a time taking process, however, if you put some extra efforts you can speed up the process of composting to some extent and that is what we’ll be discussing in this blog.
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Balance of Materials
Make sure that your compost contains the Greens and Browns in the proper ratio. The easy ratio that you can follow is 1:1, put 50% Greens and 50% Browns. This will help balance out the chemicals and stabilise the compost. Brown materials, such as dead leaves and twigs, provide carbon, while green materials, such as food scraps and grass clippings, provide nitrogen. A balanced ratio of these materials will speed up composting process.
Add Brown Material in the base
Adding up browns in the base layer of the compost will help the compost trap more air inside. Air contains oxygen which is essential for the survival of good bacteria and micro-organisms which help in the process of decomposition.
Mix soil and old compost in the new one
Mixing soil and some old compost in the new ones provides the compost with essential elements like good bacteria and worms from the very beginning.
Chop it up
Chop down the larger pieces of organic matter into as small as you can make them. This chopping helps in speeding up the process very much as the decomposition of smaller material is easier and faster.
Keep mixing and aerating the compost
Keep mixing up the compost in every 5-6 days. This will help in creating a uniformity in the compost decomposition process and it will also help the compost get fresh air and oxygen, which is very essential for the micro-organisms there.
Keep the compost in the sunlight
Make sure you put your compost in a place which receives proper sunlight at least 4-5 hours a day. Sunlight heats up the compost and promotes the growth of micro-organisms which help in decomposition of the organic material.
Proper moisture in the compost
Keep your compost pile moist but make sure that the compost is not waterlogged. Microorganisms need moisture to survive, but too much water can suffocate them. Aim for a moisture level of around 50-60%. If compost get’s waterlogged, it’ll make the compost stink really bad.
Avoid bad smell from compost
If you notice bad smell or a stinking compost, there there is some imbalance in the compost, bad smell means that your something is wrong with the compost. We have a complete blog on why a compost smells bad and ways to get rid of it, you can read it by clicking here.
Use Compost Accelerators
Use a compost accelerator or activator to add beneficial bacteria to your pile of compost. You can get compost accelerators from any good gardening store and they can really help speed up the process of decomposition.
Add worms to the compost
Add worms to your compost pile to help break down the organic matter. Red wiggler worms are particularly effective at breaking down materials quickly.
Cover the Compost
If you are composting in a bin, cover it with a lid. If it’s on the ground all open, use a plastic sheet to cover the compost. Covering the compost will help it retain it’s moisture, heat and the compost will not dry out quickly.
Compost in Larger Quantities
When you compost in small quantity, it’s easier for the heat to dissipate which results in cool down of the compost which ultimately slows down the activity of worms and micro-organisms in the compost. If you compost in larger quantity, it’ll be easier to keep the heat trapped which in turn will provide a great condition for the worms and micro organisms to work faster and efficient.
Addition of meat can bring bad bacteria into the compost, also, meat is hard to decompose. Also meat can bring other insects and animals into the compost. So it’s better to avoid adding meat in the compost
Maintain the temperature of the Compost
The good bactaria and worms require an optimal temperature to work efficiently. Make sure that the temperature of the compost stays between 135° -160° Fahrenheit as it is found to be the most optimal temperature for composting. You can use a compost thermometer to keep a check on the temperature of the compost.
Insulate the Compost
Use compost duvet to keep the compost warm. If you can’t get a duvet, just take some hot water in a plastic bottle and put it inside the compost, it’ll provide the required amount of heat to the compost and increase the speed of decomposition.
Try Bokashi Composting Method
Bokashi composting is a method of composting food waste that uses a mixture of microorganisms, including effective microorganisms (EM), to ferment the waste.
Use the Berkeley Method of Rapid Composting
The Berkeley Method of Composting, also known as the Berkeley Method of Composting and Mulching, is a method of composting developed by the City of Berkeley, California. The method involves using a combination of green waste (leaves, grass, and other plant matter) and food waste to create a compost pile that is turned and aerated regularly. The Berkeley Method also incorporates the use of a “compost starter” made of a mixture of microorganisms, known as Actinomycetes, and a bulking agent, such as straw, to help speed up the composting process. The method also emphasizes on the importance of maintaining the right moisture and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio in the compost pile to ensure optimal microbial activity. This method is known for being efficient and easy to replicate in small-scale, backyard settings.
With this method you can compost within 3 weeks if you have a very large amount of compost. Read more about it here.
Use Electric Composter
One of the fastest way of creating compost is by using an electric composter. These are small composters which you can put anywhere in the house, usually kept in kitchen cause most of the organic waste is produced there only. The only drawback is it produces compost in very small quantities. If you have a small mini garden, you can use an electric composter to produce healthy soil for your plants in 5-6 hours depending on the moisture levels of the organic waste added into the bin.