Making your own compost is not only good for the environment but also great for your veggies.
And while it normally takes at least six months to produce usable compost, we will show you how to make compost at home fast.
Making your own compost means you don’t have to buy it and to make it you only need waste you produce anyway.
This means, it’s free! All you need is some willingness and time. So, in this article we will tell you more about making compost and show you how to make compost at home fast.
What Is Composting?
But first things first. In case you have heard about composting but are not entirely sure what it means, we will explain it briefly.
Because to know how to make compost at home fast, you have to know the composting process.
Composting is a method of turning garden and kitchen waste into nutrient rich compost that you can use to improve your soil to get a better crop.
The Composting Process
There are four main elements that are involved in the composting process: organic matter, moisture, oxygen and bacteria.
The organic matter is the material that will be turned into compost, with the help of moisture, oxygen and bacteria, by speeding up the decomposition of the material.
The bacteria are doing the actual work, but the oxygen and the moisture support them to do it quicker.
Keep this in mind, because to make compost fast, you have to ensure that your compost heap has all these elements in the right ratio.
Brown And Green Material
Organic matter is divided into two categories: green and brown material. You need both in equal amounts for your compost pile to work.
Organic material that falls into this category, provides nitrogen to your compost heap. It includes materials such as:
- fresh grass clippings
- raw food waste from fruit and vegetables
- tea or coffee (keep in mind that most tea bags are not compostable)
- animal manure
- plants that are soft and leafy
- annual weeds (but only if they have not set seed)
Many of these materials you probably throw away regularly, so they will be easy to get.
Material from this category will provide your compost heap with carbon, which is just as important as nitrogen for the composting process.
Brown material includes:
- pater and card (such as egg boxes or toilet paper rolls)
- brown leaves
- material from pruning or trimming
Again, many of these materials should be readily available to you.
How To Make Compost At Home Fast
Now let’s get down to it. To make compost at home fast, you have to use the hot composting method.
This means, you need to have the right mix of green and brown material to make it work. Because this will create a higher temperature, which will speed up the composting process.
It’s also important to layer the material correctly, to create the best conditions for decomposition.
There are three main elements to making a compost pile that will decompose quickly. If you follow these, you will quickly find out how to make compost at home fast successfully.
The Mix Of Raw Materials
As already mentioned, you need to have the right mix of nitrogen rich and carbon rich materials to speed up the composting process.
The ideal ratio between these two types of organic matter is 4:1, 4 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen.
Because nitrogen materials are very wet, you have to add enough carbon material to balance the moister in your compost heap.
If you have too much moister, the material will become slimy and smelly and will clump up. This will prevent oxygen from getting in. As a result, the compost materials will compost much slower.
On the other hand, if you have too much dry brown waste, the heap will be too dry for the materials to decompose quickly. Again, the composting process will be slowed down.
This is why you need the right carbon to nitrogen ratio to make compost fast.
Size Of Materials Used
In order to speed up the decomposition process, you want your material to be as small as possible. So chop your fruit and veg kitchen scraps as small as possible. Use shredded paper rather than sheets of paper.
Shred any garden waste you use, even grass clippings.
This is because the smaller the material, the quicker it will break down and start decomposing.
If you can chop or shred your material into 1cm (1/2in) pieces, you could have your finished compost in 30 to 60 days.
So get chopping or use your grass cutter to shred garden waste.
Provide Moister And Oxygen
As already mentioned, it is vital that your compost pile has the right amount of moisture and oxygen. Because this will provide the perfect environment for the organisms that break down your garden waste and vegetable scraps.
To ensure your compost heap has enough oxygen, turn it over regularly with a garden fork or a shovel. Ideally, you want to do it every day to every two days.
That might sound like hard work, but it will be worth it. Because, the more regular you turn over your heap, the faster you will get your finished compost.
At the same time, make sure you water your compost heap if it seems dry. Like when you grow vegetables, you need to keep your compost moist.
Top Tip: Check your compost carefully when you turn it, as it will tell you if you need to water it.
But don’t overwater it, because this will slow down the process or even stop it. So you should cover your bin to keep rain water out.
If you follow these three key instructions, you will get the hot composting process going in no time.
How To Build Your Compost Heap
Now that you know the key elements of how to make compost at home fast, let’s look at how you go about building your compost heap.
If you want to make compost at home fast, you have to put all your material in at once. This means you need a good amount of both brown and green material.
Start by positioning your compost bin directly on the soil. This will let insects and worms get in, who will help with the process.
Keep your compost bin out of direct sunlight, as this will heat it up during the day and cool down during the night. You want to keep the conditions as constant as possible.
So the best spot is in light shade or shade.
To achieve the best outcome, layer your materials. Start with a coarse layer by adding twigs, straw or dry leaves.
This will help to let air in, which is necessary for the process.
Next, add a layer of brown material, such as woody materials, followed by a thin layer of soil or compost.
This might surprise you, but by adding in material that already has the right bacteria, you will speed up the whole process. One of the secrets of how to make compost at home fast.
Then add a layer of green material, such as raw kitchen scraps.
Remember the 4:1 ratio of carbon and nitrogen materials. So your layer of brown material should be 4 times as thick as your green material layer.
To get the best outcome and speed up the process even more, you can add a layer of an activator. This is a material that contains both nitrogen and protein.
Activators will help the microorganisms to break down organic materials quicker. An activator could be fresh manure, bone meal or blood meal.
Continue to add layers of nitrogen and carbon materials in the right ratio until your compost bin is full.
If you want to make your own compost bin, then make sure it is at least 1 cubic meter big. As anything less than this, will not be able to generate the heat needed to make compost.
To ensure your compost pile has the right moisture level, mist each layer with a hose pipe. That way, you get moister into your compost heap at every layer, without drowning the pile.
Your compost heap should be moist, but not wet. If you get it too wet, don’t worry, just add more brown material.
Keep adding moister if necessary, especially if it is very warm to prevent your compost heap from drying out.
Most commercial compost bins come with a lid to prevent rain from soaking your compost bin.
If you have your own, make sure you remember to cover it.
Now we are coming to an important part in our guide about how to make compost at home fast. Turning your heap will add oxygen to the heap, keeping the bacteria and fungi who break down the material alive and happy.
After two days, your pile should be ready to be turned over. To know if your pile is ready, you could use a compost thermometer to check the temperature.
The ideal temperature for turning over your compost heap is 71°C (160°F). But anything from 60°C (140°F) is OK to turn.
The right way to turn a compost pile is by moving the outer material into the middle, using a garden fork.
Top Tip: When you turn your compost heap, also check on its moister level and add moister if necessary.
From now on, turn your compost heap every day or two to speed up the composting process.
If you have followed the instructions in our guide on how to make compost at home fast, you should have finished compost in one month.
Your compost is finished when it turns brown and has a crumbly texture. It should smell a bit sweet.
Not all of your materials might have been fully composted. Anything that has not yet decomposed completely, use in your next compost heap.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not found an answer in our guide about how to make compost at home fast, try our FAQ section.
Why Does My Compost Heap Not Work?
There can be many reasons why your compost heap does not work. As we have mentioned in our guide about how to make compost at home fast, there are some key instructions that have to be followed.
If your compost heap does not work, it could be because your ratio of carbon and nitrogen material is not right. You should have a ratio of 4 parts brown material and 1 part green material.
If you have too much brown material, your compost heap is likely to be too dry. A lack of nitrogen will also lower the temperature in your compost heap, which will slow it down.
To solve this, add more green materials.
On the other hand, if you have too much nitrogen material, your pile is likely too wet. This will make the materials clump together and reduces the air, which will kill off the bacteria.
To solve this, add more brown waste material.
Even if you have the right carbon to nitrogen ratio, you still have to make sure that the heap gets enough moister. That might mean you have to water your compost heap in hot, dry weather.
Turning is also one of the most important things, because it will aerate the compost heap. So make sure you turn it every one or two days.
Why Should I Make My Own Compost?
Making your own compost does not only give you free compost, it also means that you can produce the best quality compost.
By making your own, you can ensure that your plants gorw strong and healthy and produce an excellent yield.
What Is The Best Compost Bin?
Commonly, there are three different types of compost bins:
- black plastic compost bins
- wooden compost bins
- compost tumblers
The black plastic bins are the most common commercial bins and are the cheapest.
They have a lid and an opening on the bottom, where you can take out your compost.
Because they are black, they absorb the sunlight and keep the temperature within them high.
This is a black plastic compost bin we can recommend.
- EASILY ACCESSIBLE - Composter bin with stable hinged lid for easy filling from above, with hatch door. So There's no need to empty the whole bin and sort.
- FEATURES - Ventilation openings, dark colour for better heat development. Eco-friendly way to deal with organic waste.
- STURDY MATERIAL - Durable weatherproof plastic design.
Wooden compost bins are seen as more environmentally friendly and look nicer. They tend to be a bit more expensive than plastic bins, but not by much.
Most of them don’t have a lid, so you have to cover them with tarpaulin for example when it rains.
This wooden compost bin is one we would recommend.
- XL CAPACITY FOR MAXIMUM COMPOSTING - Our wooden compost bin boasts an impressive 893L capacity, perfect for turning garden and household waste into nutrient-rich compost.
- ECO-FRIENDLY AND ECONOMICAL - Say goodbye to expensive pre-made compost and hello to sustainable recycling with our slatted composter design.
- TRADITIONAL YET STYLISH - Our wooden compost bin features a classic slatted design that blends seamlessly into any garden, while encouraging airflow and insect activity for high-quality compost.
Tumbler compost bins are designed so can be easily turned. They look a bit like a tombola wheel.
They tend to be more expensive, but very handy, as you don’t need to turn over your compost with a garden fork.
Just turn the tumbler a few times and your compost is turned.
This is a tumbler compost bin we would recommend.
- Constructed from rugged and durable polypropylene Bin with powder coated Steel frame to provide years of service while maximizing capacity to decompose
- Features air vents or aeration holes with two sliding doors allow user to provide the desirable amount of oxygen going inside the compost for better and quick results
- Designed with dual chambers to make the composting process simple and more effective while providing best quality results. It treats soil waste to decompose in an ENVIRONMENTAL way. Compost waste in just a couple of weeks with proper maintenance by turning 5-6 times every couple of days and get results in 2-4 weeks.
Should I Add Lime To My Compost?
There are people who say it is a good idea. However, we have done research on this topic for our guide about how to make compost at home fast.
The conclusion is that it is not necessary to add lime.
Now that you know how to make compost at home fast, you will be able to grow beautiful and tasty vegetables. Happy Growing!