luludi
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Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:15 pm
Location: NC

How long for compost ready?

I started putting material in my compost bins in fall and just added some more leaves. How long does it take to have the ready compost for the garden? A few months or more than a year?

rot
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

it depends

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If you just pile things up and add water give it a year. 6 months best in ideal optimal conditions and contents. If you turn from time to time it will be sooner. Maintain moisture.

Turn once a week and the best you can expect is two months depending on contents, moisture and, climate conditions. In winter expect things to be slower. Plan on three months if you're turning.

to sense

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Well the answer is it depends. I don't turn my pile much, just when I want to get to the finished compost at the bottom. I just keep adding stuff on top. So when I am going to use the compost I take the stuff off the top to be the bottom of the new pile, down to the layer where the earthworms are. The bottom of the pile will be finished or nearly finished compost, which when exposed to air again and stirred a little will finish quickly.

So the last time I did that was in the fall for fall planting. Pile is frozen now. In about early March where I am, it will be all the way thawed again and I will be planting. I will turn it over again and there will be finished compost at the bottom (of course there will also be a lot of uncomposted stuff that becomes the beginning of the new pile). That's about 6 mos that stuff sat there, but it was through the winter, not doing much.

The stuff that in March became the bottom of a new pile, by May-ish when I want more compost for more planting will be finished and I will do the turn it over again routine. It will have finished quicker with warmer weather. Then again in fall for the fall planting.

But lots of variables. I don't put manure in my piles, just kitchen scraps and garden remnants and leaves. I do water the pile, whenever I water the garden. You will find out with experience what works for you. If I had to pick one number as a best guesstimate, I'd figure on 6 months.

rot
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Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

won't argue with that

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I can't argue with rainbowgardener. Like he/she says: too many variables.

It's hard to say without a close look of all the variables and what those variables are is hard to communicate. I know.

Maybe you could have a bar-b-que and we can all stand around with a beer in hand and give you all kinds of useless advice while we ooh and ah over the big pile of manure. Like a political convention.

Vote early and often.

to sense

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luludi
Full Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:15 pm
Location: NC

thanks
as of the barbeque is a great idea. :lol: And since you 'll be here, I have some chores in the garden too. My husband never leaves his computer... :wink:

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