Compost Maturity - Knowledgebase Question

Roanoke, VA
Avatar for mpdsphp
Question by mpdsphp
March 3, 1998
My husband and I started a compost pile this past fall. The weather has been cold, and we've had a lot of rain. The compost is not doing anything. We've probably turned it once a month or so, and have been adding shredded leaves, household vegetable garbage, yard clippings, etc. It's obvious we won't have any nice compost ready for this springs gardening, but when will we? Should we have waited to begin it in warmer weather? Is there anything we can add to "speed-up" the process?

Answer from NGA
March 3, 1998
A compost pile cooks best if you turn it frequently. Cold weather and an abundance of rain will definately slow the process. Next winter try placing a tarp over the top of the pile to keep excess rain out. For now you can help speed things up by completely mixing the pile up and adding some nitrogen (either fertilizer or grass clippings). As the weather warms and dries out, the pile will begin to heat up. Turn every few days, moving the center of the pile to the edges and the edges of the pile to the inside, where it's nice and warm. Remember to add a shovelful of soil every once in a while to incorporate some beneficial organisms and good bacteria. Compost happens. Good, fast compost takes a little extra effort!

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