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back to: outdoor composting Turning The Compost Pile  
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In order for the microorganisms in your pile to do their work they need water, a good mix of materials, and air.

To turn or aerate your compost, take a long-handled rake, pitchfork, compost bin aerator, or even a long stick and push it down into different parts of the pile to mix and "fluff" up the compost. Try moving the inside of the pile outward and the outer areas of the pile to the inside.

For the best results, turn your pile once every 2-4 weeks. When you turn the compost, you add air into your pile, distribute excess water, and speed up the decomposition process by providing the most contact between browns and greens. Compacted or soggy piles can produce unpleasant odors.

You can also speed up the decompositon process by cutting up large pieces of material, turning the pile more frequently, and watering as needed. If you choose this intensive approach, you could have finished compost in just 3 months! However, if you take a more relaxed approach by simply adding materials and turning sporadically, you will most likely not see finished compost within a year or more.

ALSO SEE:
compost timing: how to tell when it's ready to use
troubleshooting outdoor composting

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