Composting Yard Waste: Materials to Use and Avoid
You have learned how to create compost, now learn how to maintain it.
- If compost is properly mixed and maintained, a final product may be obtained in one to two months under optimum summer conditions. It should be about half its original size with an earthy smell.
- Proper moisture and air levels are especially important. Dry plant wastes quickly stop composting. Plant materials often dry on the outside while the center remains moist.
- Water consistently to keep compost uniformly moist but not wet.
- Use an aeration tool to reach into the compost to lift and move plant materials. Turn the entire mass occasionally to provide uniform aeration.
- Small amounts of fresh materials may be added to compost, particularly if a vertical composting system is used.
- In other systems, too much fresh material results in a mixture of fully-decomposed and fresh materials.
- If enough material is available, make a new pile instead of combining fresh materials with nearly finished compost.