Fast Composting

What is "Fast" Composting?

Fast composting is a method of making compost that promotes faster decomposition of materials. This process requires a bit more work than regular composting, and attention must be paid to the pile with regards to turning and insuring the proper conditions for faster decomposition to occur.

Fast Composting Ingredients
  • Shredded leaves (about 2/3 by volume)
  • Fresh grass clippings (about 1/3 by volume, or slightly more for faster decomposition)
  • kitchen scraps (grind in blender)
Fast Composting Method

Begin the pile with a 4" layer of leaves. Add a 2" layer of grass clippings. Repeat the layers until the pile is about 4' high, then add kitchen scraps.

Chop vertically through the pile with the tines of a pitchfork to thoroughly bruise and mix the materials. Add just enough water to moisten the pile, then cover it with a black plastic garbage bag. Using the same chopping technique, turn the pile on the second day after the pile is built, again of the fourth day, then ever three days until the compost is finished. Except in dry weather, no further watering should be necessary.

The compost should be finished in about 2 weeks.

Faster composting is not an exact process. As with normal composting, the materials that are put into the pile have a direct effect on how fast the process works. For example, wood chips should not be included in a fast compost pile because they will not decompose in the time needed. Pine needles and leaves from heartier trees (oak and maple) may take longer to decompose than leaves from less hearty trees. Grass from the yard should be fresh cut and not dried - green grass provides the nitrogen needed for the pile.

Can you use it before it is finished?
Using the compost before it is finished will not harm the ground. Since all the materials that go into the bin are natural, they will not harm the soil you into which you incorporate it. Unfinished compost is more of a mulch than a soil additive. You may add it sparingly to the top of soil around existing plants much the way bark mulch is used. Decomposition of the materials will still occur out of the pile, though it may take longer.


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