How Often Should You Turn Your Compost to Boost Nutrient-rich Soil?

The Importance of Turning Compost Regularly for Optimal Results

Composting is an excellent way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your plants. However, it’s not enough to simply pile up organic matter and wait for it to decompose on its own. To achieve the best results, regular turning of compost is essential. In this blog post, we will delve into why turning compost is important, how often it should be done, and the benefits that come with maintaining a consistent schedule.

Why is turning compost important?

Turning or mixing compost serves two crucial purposes: aeration and redistribution of materials. When you turn the pile regularly, oxygen can penetrate deeper into its core. This allows beneficial aerobic bacteria to thrive and speed up decomposition by breaking down organic matter effectively.

Additionaaly, turning helps redistribute moisture throughout the heap evenly. Dry pockets within the pile may slow down decomposition since microorganisms require adequate moisture levels to function optimally. By incorporating dry areas with moist sections during turning, you ensure that all parts of your compost are hydrated adequately.

How often should you turn your compost?

The frequency at which you should turn your compost depends on various factors such as temperature, ingredients used, and desired timeline for finished product availability.

In general, experts recommend turning your compost every 1-2 weeks during active periods (when temperatures range between 140°F-160°F) using a pitchfork or shovel. These frequent intervals help maintain high internal temperatures required to kill weed seeds and pathogens while providing optimal conditions for decomposition.

If maintaining such regularity proves challenging due to time constraints or other reasons,a viable alternative would be turning the pile once every 3-4 weeks. This slower-paced approach will still yield compost, albeit taking a longer time to reach maturity.

The benefits of regular compost turning

1. Accelerates decomposition: Turning your compost regularly introduces fresh oxygen and mixes materials effectively, speeding up the breakdown process significantly.

2. Reduces odors: Proper aeration helps prevent anaerobic conditions that may lead to foul-smelling odors. By turning your compost routinely, you create an environment conducive to beneficial bacteria, which reduces unpleasant smells.

3. Controls moisture levels: Regularly turning your compost allows for even distribution of moisture throughout the pile, preventing dry pockets or excess dampness that can hinder decomposition.

4. Improves nutrient balance: Mixing different types of organic matter during turning helps achieve a balanced ratio of carbon-rich (or “browns”) and nitrogen-rich (or “greens”) ingredients in your compost. This balance enhances its overall nutrient content and ensures optimal plant growth when used as soil amendment.

In conclusion, while it may seem like an additional chore in the gardening routine, regularly turning your compost is crucial towards achieving desirable results in a timely manner.

If you want rich and dark humus ready for application on garden beds within several months instead of waiting for years,. make sure to turn your heap frequently following our recommendations.