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When to Turn a Compost? Here’s how often and Why

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Compost is used to improve soil quality and decrease the need for chemical fertilizers. But there’s a little care to be taken to make the decomposition process successful. One such step is to turn the compost.

Frequent turning of compost speeds up the decomposition process. Compost should be turned in once every week or at least once a month. Increasing the frequency at which a compost is turned speeds up the decomposition process by increasing the available oxygen for the decomposing bacteria, causing it to mature faster.

How and when to turn the compost is an important thing to know. This article will explain when and how to turn your compost to ensure it performs as efficiently as possible while minimizing the smelly side of things.

What is the best way to turn a compost?

When to turn a compost

The best way to know when it is time to turn compost is by looking for signs. These include the appearance of the pile and the smell. There are many other factors to look for when deciding if compost needs to be turned.

When you notice the pile’s unpleasant odor, it might be time to turn it. This is because there are too many bacteria on top that are not getting enough oxygen from the air below.

When this happens, these bacteria produce ammonia due to anaerobic respiration, which produces a bad odor.

ammonia smells in compost

The other telltale sign that it’s time to turn compost is if the pile does not appear to decompose or break down. This can happen when there is not enough nitrogen in a pile.

Another factor is the temperature of the compost pile. If it is hot, it has been too long without being turned and should be turned to cool it down; if it is cold, there is no need to turn it because there is no heat buildup.

However, the other most crucial factor when deciding if compost needs to be turned is how wet or dry it looks on top.

If you can see that the top layer of material has dried out and cracked, you have waited too long before turning and need to do so now.

Therefore, to sum up, smell, non-decomposition of organic materials, wetness and temperature of the pile, etc., are the significant factors that help decide whether the compost needs to be turned or not.

See also:
Compost Pile Vs a Compost Bin
Using Compost as a Mulch
Adding Soil into a Compost

Take the guesswork out of knowing when to turn your compost or how active your compost is with this temperature gauge we use from amazon.

Compost Thermometer - Cate's Garden Premium Stainless Steel Bimetal Thermometer (1)

What is the Importance of Turning a Compost?

Compost is a mixture of organic materials decomposed by microorganisms, making it a rich and fertile soil amendment. Composting is decomposing organic material such as plant and animal waste by bacteria and fungi.

Composting may be done in a compost heap, compost bin, or enclosed drum composter.

For a compost pile to work, it needs to be turned. Turning the compost pile ensures that all the pile materials are mixed, allowing for faster decomposition.

Turning the compost pile helps oxygenate the pile, which encourages aerobic organisms to thrive. Turning also helps to balance the moisture content of the pile so that it does not become too wet or too dry. This will ensure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste!

Animals give off methane gas when they digest food in their stomachs. This gas has a much higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide.

Turning the compost will cause it to decompose faster, which will help reduce the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere.

Benefits of turning a compost

You can use a pitchfork or shovel if you want to turn your compost. If you are using a pitchfork, make sure you turn from all angles so that everything gets mixed up and decomposes evenly.

When compost is turned, mix up all the decomposing items and create a more even distribution of air and nutrients.

Turning compost reduces the waste going to landfills or being burned in incinerators. It produces a rich fertilizer for use on your lawn or garden. It helps to create more fertile soil for plants to grow in.

To create compost, you must turn your pile periodically to allow oxygen to reach all parts of it. Turning your compost pile will also help ensure that it is evenly moist and has enough air circulation. 

It reduces the waste sent to landfills, lowering your carbon footprint and providing your garden with nutrients.

With many benefits on its hand, composting is an important activity to be performed effectively to get desired results.

How Often Should Compost be Turned?

Compost is a great way to turn your food scraps into organic fertilizer for your garden. The compost pile will decompose faster if it is turned regularly.

Turning the compost pile also helps mix in air and water so that the microbes can do their job more efficiently.

The frequency of turning a compost pile depends on the size of the pile and its moisture content. A large, wet compost pile should be rotated every two to four weeks. A smaller, dryer compost should be turned in every week or two. 

Compost should be turned in every week, or at least once a month, depending on the compost’s size and the composition of materials.

How to Turn a Compost

Composting is collecting organic material such as leaves, grass clippings, food scraps, etc., and turning them into compost.

It is a natural process where organic materials decompose and become soil amendments.

If you want to turn compost, you will need to mix the materials so that they can break down faster.

There are many ways to turn the compost. You can use a shovel or pitchfork or even just your hands. The key is to make sure that everything is mixed thoroughly and in a way that maximizes aeration.

Composting is a great way to reduce waste and make your garden thrive. Though composting can be done in several ways, it always starts with the same steps. 

Follow the below steps to start off turning the compost:

Step 1: Gathering up the Organic Materials

Gather all the materials you need for composting, such as leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, and coffee grounds.

Step 2: Digging the Compost Pile to Mix it

Create piles of these materials so that they are evenly distributed and aerated. 

Step 3: -Turning the Mixture With a Pitchfork and Break up Clumps

Turn the piles regularly to ensure they get mixed up well with air and water.

Step 4: Wait to Turn the Organic Materials into Compost

Wait six months before using the compost in your garden or flower beds.

Composting is often done in a compost pile, which is essentially just a collection of organic material, such as leaves and grass clippings, mixed with water and regularly turned to allow the pile to decompose more efficiently. Turning up compost is an easy task if done in the right way.

What Happens if Compost is Not Turned

Composting is a natural way of breaking down organic material to become rich in nutrients. Composting helps create a better soil condition for plants to grow and can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

They are an excellent way to eliminate food scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials. Turning the pile is essential for a healthy compost pile. If you don’t turn your compost pile regularly, it will become anaerobic and emit unpleasant odors.

The decomposition process will slow down significantly. It could also lead to problems like fly infestation because of the lack of oxygen in the soil.

What causes a compost to smell

If a compost pile is not turned, it will cause poor quality compost. This is because the pile may be too wet or too dry, and the microorganisms cannot break down the materials properly.

Compost is a great way to recycle organic waste to make more fertile soil. But if you don’t turn the compost, it will have a negative impact on the soil.

Turning the compost helps aerate it and keeps it from getting too wet or too dry. It also helps with decomposition and prevents any bad odors from developing.

If you are not turning your compost, you are missing out on all these benefits. It can lead to anaerobic decomposition, which produces methane gas; it can cause the pile to become too wet and increase the risk of mold growth, and it can lead to an unpleasant odor, which one doesn’t need.

The Takeaway

Composting is an essential process to create a natural fertilizer for improving soil quality. Turning the compost pile often speeds up the decomposition process. However, once every week, the compost must be turned up. 

This helps in improving the quality of soil as well as creating organic manure. However, when to turn, the compost depends on factors like lousy odor, temperature, etc. Therefore, take care of the compost to get effective results.

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