Ongoing Care for your Compost Pile

Unless you are using a cold composting method, your compost pile is going to need regular care and maintenance. You need to monitor it for any foul odors, heat generation, and moisture levels. You will need to rotate or turn the material on a regular basis. You should know when to stop adding materials and let the process finish. And the final step is to use a screen to separate any larger materials that did not fully break down.

If there is a bad smell coming from your compost pile turn the pile over to increase air circulation. You should also add more brown food (leaves, straw/hay, or small twigs) and make sure the top layer of your pile is only brown food.

You will learn the trick of adding water to your pile to make it moist without making to wet with some trial and error. Inevitably you will make the pile too wet at one point during the process. If you do, try rotating the material to soak up any extra water and if that doesn’t work, add more brown food.

You can purchase a thermometer that is made especially for composting. You want the pile to retain a certain temperature to work properly (105-140 degrees Fahrenheit) but if it exceeds 155 degrees, it is too hot.

Routine turning of your pile is necessary to add oxygen, cut-down on odors and to aid in the breaking-down process. You should turn your pile every other day or at a minimum two times per week.

After the heat phase, the compost pile needs some time to cure and finish the decomposing process. You can add red earthworms at this point to aid in the curing the humus.

Before you use your finished product, you should put the compost through a screen to catch any larger items that did not compost properly or enough.

Leave a Reply