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3 Ways to Make Compost Faster at Home (+ Ingredient Tips)

Compost bin with title of article on top

Composting is an effective way to manage garden and kitchen waste to create healthy soil. However, sometimes you may feel frustrated with the long composting time.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait that long with the right methods. We will share three ways on how to speed up the process.  

Keep reading to find out more. 

How long does compost take to decompose

Male hand adding carrot peels into a colorful compost heap consisting of rotting kitchen leftovers

The time taken by compost materials to decompose isn’t constant. A compost pile can take a couple of weeks, several months, or even years. 

It all depends on how you manage the compost pile, the type of compost materials, composting method, and the timing of the compost. 

Remember don’t feed any material directly into your compost pile, the first step to have a successful compost is to choose the right compost materials. Some materials decompose quickly, some take longer and yet others don’t decompose at all. 

3 Ways to Make Compost Faster

Here are three ways to make your compost faster at home:

1. Have the Right Ratio of Brown to Green Materials

list of items that goes counts as green and brown items for compost

When choosing the composting materials you need to balance the brown and green materials. The brown materials refer to the long-dead woodier materials. Often as the name implies they are either brown or turn brown. 

They include twigs, straw, hay wood chips, fall leaves, shredded cardboard, and cornstalk. The browns have a higher content of carbon than nitrogen.

On the other hand, green refers to the recently dried plant materials. The greens either still possess green color or other signs of life in them. In the compost pile, the greens have a higher content of nitrogen than carbon. 

The quick decomposition of compost material requires the activities of both fungi and bacteria. Whereas bacteria like to feed on greens, fungi thrive on brown materials. 

When you don’t balance the greens and browns, the pile won’t compost efficiently. For example, if the compost grows a stinking smell (ammonia), it means you have fewer browns in the pile. 

On the other hand, when you have fewer green materials, the pile won’t heat up. Most gardeners propose the ratio of browns to greens at 4:1. However you can still tweak the ratio depending on what you add to the compost pile. 

2. Shred Materials

Wooden bowl filled with carrot peelers for composting

Just having the right balance of browns and green in the composting materials isn’t enough. Before you feed the material to the heap, you need to shred them into pieces. 

Cutting the grass clippings or leaves into smaller bits makes them decompose faster than when they are whole.

Depending on what you wish to shred you can use a lawnmower, leaf shredder, or chipper shredder to break down the materials into smaller bits. 

Shredding the materials also helps to create air pockets in the bits of leaves, grass, and twigs. As a result, it boosts the aeration of the compost hip and thus increases the decomposition rate. 

As for kitchen wastes, you can pass them through the blender first. Besides breaking them into bits it also makes them more moisturized. 

3. Try Composting with Worms

List of items that you should and should not compost

Another way to speed up the composting process is to leverage worms, this green gardening method makes use of worms’ natural diet, normally called vermicomposting

The process for vermicomposting is easy, you use food scraps and garden wastes, put them in the worm bins and let worms go to work. 

With the right food, temperature and moisture conditions, worms will eat, multiply, and excrete the beneficial worm castings after a few weeks. 

Worm castings have many benefits, it not only helps break down organic materials faster, but also increases soil fertility and helps plants become disease resistant.  

Meanwhile, vermicomposting also produces liquid fertilizer known as worm wee or worm farm leachate. Combine one part worm wee with ten parts water, you can get  nutrient-rich fertilizer for your indoor and outdoor plants.

Final Word

compost is applied to the tree

Try to use the above tips to shorten the decomposition period of your composting piles. And remember no matter which method you choose, the key to speed up the process is to maintain the right brown to green materials ratio, keep materials small sizes and leverage worms to take care of the organic matter. 

Happy composting!

Author Bio:

Tiffany Lei is the founder at Garden Guidepost. She is passionate about gardening and hopes to inspire more people to adapt to the gardening lifestyle and start composting as a way to recycle organic materials.