To speed up your composting process, make sure to: turn your pile regularly, shred your waste, add compost activators, use insulation to heat your compost faster, add old compost to your heap, compost outside during the hotter months, and make sure your compost is not too compact nor too loose.
Composting is a straightforward procedure that requires a few steps, simple requirements, and a dedicated soul to get started.
If your compost is taking a lifetime to complete, you can read the following guide for tips on speeding things up.
Let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
What Is the Fastest Way to Make Compost at Home?
The fastest way to compost at home is by using modern and advanced electric composters.
However, if you want a larger compost harvest, you need a different composting method so you can try the various available options that work for you, including:
- Hot composting
- The Bokashi method
- Traditional composting
Cold composting is also an option but takes longer and has no consistent results from the entire compost pile.
How to Compost Faster: 8 Expert Tips
There are many tips on how to speed up composting; these are the tips I follow when composting in my backyard.
1. Turn Your Pile
This is probably the most efficient, simple, yet ignored method of speeding up the composting process in your bin.
Turning facilitates air circulation, which is essential for ensuring the microbes in your pile receive enough oxygen to break down organic materials into compost.
You should also mix the compost while turning to create air pockets and distribute heat efficiently throughout the pile.
2. Shred Your Waste
Breaking down your waste is the easiest way to speed up decomposition because the microbes have a larger surface area to work on.
Some people go to the extent of grinding their food waste into a paste before adding it into the bin, reducing the airflow in your compost.
You can use a pair of shears to break down ingredients into smaller materials for your compost bin.
Alternatively, if you’re dealing with large amounts of yard waste, you can use a shredder or lawn mower to break down the materials easily.
Using a chipper to shred brown materials alone is best rather than throw in your kitchen waste.
3. Add Compost Activators
Compost activators increase the nitrogen content in your pile and speed up the composting process.
These accelerators are easy to find at most gardening stores and include horse manure, coffee grounds, and chicken manure.
4. Use Insulation Like Hay to Heat It Up
You can cover your compost heap with layers of hay or straw to heat it faster and speed up composting.
This composting method best suits cold environments or seasons because hay and straw are effective at keeping heat inside the pile.
5. Add Old Compost
Old compost contains many microorganisms that you can add to your new compost to speed up decomposition.
However, if you don’t have old compost, compost activators like chicken or horse manure should work fine.
6. Compost Outside in the Summer
Heat is essential in composting because it accelerates microbial activity and speeds up the process.
If you have enough yard space or can access an outdoor area in your home, it’s advisable to compost your kitchen waste outside in the summer.
You should place the compost pile in a location with direct access to sunlight to increase the internal and external temperatures.
7. Compost Inside in the Winter
During the winter, your compost loses heat fast.
You must keep the pile heated by transferring it indoors and away from the cold to retain its heat.
Similarly, you can add a hot water bottle into the center of your pile indoors to kickstart the process faster.
Worried about the odor indoors? You’re probably doing it wrong because compost shouldn’t smell bad.
You can research how to prevent bad smells in your compost and even get yourself an indoor composting tumbler or bin for the process.
8. Get the Right Volume
If your compost pile is too compact, there would be an insufficient supply of oxygen, killing the microbes involved in the process.
Once these microorganisms die, decomposition is halted, or anaerobic composition produces a foul smell.
Similarly, if your compost pile is too loose, you might end up with dry compost that isn’t decomposed efficiently.
Factors Affecting the Composting Speed
You must recognize the various factors affecting composting speed to know how to speed up composting, and they include:
The microbes in your compost pile use lots of oxygen during the decomposition process.
The center of your pile must be sufficiently aerated for effective aerobic decomposition; otherwise, the microorganisms will die.
Turning your compost heap is one of the most effective ways of ensuring the entire heap is aerated, especially for a large pile, to harvest quality compost.
Regular turning also prevents anaerobic decomposition, which causes unwanted odors in your compost bin.
Did you know that microorganisms must dissolve in water to break down your kitchen scraps into compost properly?
On that account, you must ensure your compost is sufficiently moisturized to boost the compost activators involved in the composting process.
Less water slows down microbial activity and cuts off fast composting while excess water leaches out nutrients from your pile.
You can fix excess moisture levels by adding dry material to your bin like shredded paper, wood chips, dry leaves, or sawdust, while insufficient water is repaired by wetting your heap.
The moisture in your compost pile should compare to that in a squeezed-out sponge, so you can easily use your hand to confirm this.
3. Surface Area
Oxygen is one of the major compost activators for the decomposition process.
When you expose a large surface of your compost pile to air, the microorganisms can better break down your kitchen waste into finished compost.
A large surface area gives these microbes more compost materials to digest, more energy to multiply, and enough space to generate more heat.
While increasing your pile’s surface area is unnecessary, especially with limited space, it significantly speeds up the decomposition process.
4. Interior Temperatures
The temperature inside your compost bin varies depending on the size of your pile.
Heat within your compost pile is produced through hot composting, eliminating pathogens in the organic waste.
Your compost pile will adopt the surrounding air temperature at the start of your composting process.
As you mix brown materials with the greens from your food scraps, the internal temperature rises and can reach about 160 degrees Fahrenheit during the thermophilic phase.
Use a compost thermometer to ensure these thermophilic temperatures are attained, and add green materials to the heap if it falls below 130 degrees F.
This high-temperature period lasts about 3 days, and the pile cools down once you turn it.
5. External Temperature
Of course, you would expect your pile to compost fast in summer compared to winter. The external surrounding temperature affects your composting speeds significantly.
High fall, summer, and spring temperatures increase microbial activity and reduce the composting period.
On the other hand, low temperatures in the winter slow down your compost activators and can stop the process entirely.
6. Carbon to Nitrogen Ratio
Carbon and nitrogen are the essential elements required for the decomposition process of your compost pile.
Microbes use carbon-rich materials as energy sources, while nitrogen-rich materials boost the microorganisms’ activity.
The ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio for your compost heap is 30:1, or 30 pats of brown materials to each green one.
It can sometimes prove difficult to attain such a ratio, especially in a larger pile, but no matter what composting method you use, the browns should be more than the greens.