To get compost mature quickly, you need to set it up so that you can generate a hot pile. This means:
The fastest way to get compost mature
- The pile is correctly formulated with a carbon : nitrogen ratio close to 30:1. Most compost made from kitchen scraps is too high in nitrogen and needs more carbonaceous material like straw, wood chips or shavings, etc.
- The raw materials are loose enough that oxygen can penetrate.
- The pile is large enough to generate and hold the heat.
- The pile is evenly moist without being wet.
- The ambient temperature is suitable.
- The pile is turned so that materials that were in cooler, drier, less aerobic portions of the pile get a turn to be hot.
Notice that meeting these requirements will take some effort. You not only need the proper mix of materials, you’ll also need them in sufficient quantities. That’s not the usual situation for a home compost pile where you’ll have a steady trickle of kitchen scraps and occasional gluts of garden waste. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any entirely adequate home composting operation without a lot of effort. It just means that it will take a long time for the compost to finish enough for spreading on the garden.
The compost is finished when it has cooled down. Finished compost isn’t like the dark, uniform, crumbly material you buy in bags. That only results from screening it. So don’t think your compost isn’t done because you can still identify some of the raw ingredients. If you don’t want them in the finished product, run it through a screen made from 1/2″ hardware cloth.