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Adding Soil to Compost: Soil Type, Quantity & Problems

There are benefits to adding soil to compost, but first, the soil must meet the requirements before it can be mixed in to share its benefits with the decomposers.

Adding soil to compost improves compost quality. The soil adds nutrients and helps with aeration. Soil increases the microbial count within the compost, helping boost the decomposition process while filling spaces within the compost.

The mixture of soil into compost is beneficial for the decomposition process. However, there are certain do’s and don’t about adding soil into compost which you will learn in this article. 

Can you Add Soil into a Compost Bin?

Adding Soil to Compost

Compost bins are an excellent way to turn your organic waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. But what if you want to add soil to the compost bin?

Soil can be added to a compost bin, but it must be screened and mixed with other materials. It should not be the only material in the compost bin because it will not rot as quickly as other materials.

The idea of adding soil into the compost bin will provide more nutrients for the compost pile. 

By adding soil into the compost bin, two essential things are being supplied: 

  1. A compost activator 
  2. Compost inoculant

When soil is added to the compost, many beneficial microorganisms are added, which automatically speeds up the composting process. It even improves the quality of compost. 

A few other reasons adding soil to compost can be beneficial are: 

  • Soil to compost acts as a bio-filter to neutralize the smelly gases released. Compost smells can be removed by adding a couple of inches of topsoil to the heap. 
  • Soil to compost will prevent the infestation by fruit flies. A layer of soil will prevent the flies or ants from accessing composting materials like fruit or kitchen scraps.   

Therefore, soil can be added to a compost bin as it speeds up the composting process and prevents common composting problems like odors or insects.

If you want the better textured finished compost in less time, adding soil to compost is one way. 

What Type of Soil is Good to Add to the Compost

Soil types vector illustration. Labeled educational triangle pyramid scheme. Biological earth structure with agricultural clay, silt, loam and sand diagram. Various different percentage examples.

Adding soil to compost is a great way to improve compost quality. Many soils can be used, such as sand, clay, and loam but the type of soil you use will depend on what you are trying to achieve with your compost pile. .

Loam is a type of soil with sand, clay, and silt. It is often used in gardening because it provides a good balance between nutrients and water retention. 

The loam also helps with aeration, which improves drainage. Clay is another type of soil that can add to compost. It has more nutrients than sand but not as much as loam.

Ideally, loam is the best type of soil in compost. This is because loam has an ideal composition of all the materials like sand, silt, clay, and decaying organic matter, making it a balanced, fertile soil.

But many times, you won’t find the perfect soil for your compost. Don’t worry. Then you can add any soil. The only thing that you have to make sure of is that the soil doesn’t contain artificial additives or many rocks or pebbles. 

You should avoid collecting soil from those fields where you do not know what kind of chemicals have been applied because most herbicides and insecticides act as a toxic to compost microorganisms. 

Here is a great compost enhancer we use from amazon that increases the microbial count and ensures that the compost does what it has to do but in a much shorter timeframe. It’s worth a look if you ask me!

Jobe's Organics Compost Starter Granules

How Much Soil To Add To the Compost

Composting is turning organic materials into nutrient-rich soil. The composting process can take up to one month to complete depending on the materials being composted. Also, it is vital to know how much soil you will need for the compost pile.

It takes about one cubic yard of organic material per 100 square feet of garden space as a general rule. However, this amount varies depending on the organic material you use in your pile and the soil you are trying to build.

If your primary motive is to mask the odor or deter flying bugs, adding around 2 inches of soil would suffice. The rule says that you should not go above 10% of the soil by volume. 

But usually, for best results, add two to three shovels of soil for every 6 inches of compost matter and mix them into the pile. 

What Can go Wrong With Adding Soil to Compost

Introduce too much Moisture or Water

Adding soil to compost can have several negative impacts. For example, it can cause the compost to be too wet. The compost’s water content will increase, making it difficult for the microbes to break down the organic matter. 

Wet soil can become a potential problem as it will cause the compost to become moist. This may create a slimy pile with pest problems. Moisture is good for the composting process, but excessive moisture can create a ruckus in the decomposition process. 

It is also possible that adding soil to your compost will decrease its quality and make it less effective as a fertilizer. This is because the soil contains many minerals that are not present in other organic matter, such as leaves or grass clippings. 

It may also contain weed seeds, contaminating the compost pile and making it more difficult to turn, making the soil less effective.  

It Can Invite Unwanted Pests

Unwanted weeds or pests will cause the compost to break down for a more extended period. The grass is another problem that can create difficulty adding soil to compost. Grass clippings are generated in large batches. 

Never add thick layers of grass clippings to compost. Always sprinkle them and make a thin layer. Don’t forget to balance them with dry ingredients. 

It Can Change the Acidity of The Compost

Balanced compost is essential. The nature of compost is slightly acidic. But sometimes, wetter ingredients can upset the balance. 

This causes the compost to become highly acidic. Excessive citrus fruits can also cause the acidity level to rise. 

To counteract this acidity, sprinkle ground lime or wood ash. If the compost is too wet, you can add browns and other fresh green materials to lower the acid levels.  

So, these are some things that you need to take care of while you start with composting. Otherwise, all your hard work will get ruined. 

When is the Best Time to Add Soil to a Compost Bin?

Compost bins are a great way to reduce the amount of waste you send to landfills. It is a natural process that converts organic waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. But there is a right time and place for adding soil to your compost bin.

Adding too much soil can cause the compost to decompose at a slower rate, while too little soil can cause it to decompose too fast. Add two inches of new soil every year or six months if you have a large bin.

One of the essential factors in composting success is the timing of adding new material to the compost pile. Adding too much at one time can cause anaerobic conditions, which will inhibit decomposition and produce unpleasant odors.

The age of your compost tells you how much work it has done and how far along it is in its decomposition process. The older your compost, the more stable and biologically active it will be.

Many qualities can make the compost good.

1. The age of the compost. As it ages, it becomes more effective at breaking down organic matter.

2. The quality of good compost is its ability to keep water. This allows for better aeration and a more efficient decomposition process.

3. Its ability to be used in different soil types and climates. This means that it will work in various environments, which will make it easier for people to use this product on their property.

The Takeaway

Adding soil to compost is beneficial for the health of compost if done in the right way. The addition of good quality soil into compost speeds up the decomposition process. In addition, it provides compost nutrients and improves the quality of compost. So, if you are thinking of whether you should add soil to compost, go for the same. 

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