What to do if the compost pile takes forever to rot? It makes sense to create another pile for cuttings and leftover fruit and vegetables so that the organic waste can be filled up in turn and can mature into humus in peace. But if you only have one composter, there is a trick you can do to speed up the process.
To really get the decomposition going, it’s not necessary to buy a commercial compost accelerator or a plastic quick composter. You can simply inoculate the compost with a homemade, natural solution that will help the rotting process, make the pile collapse faster and result in valuable humus soil sooner.
What you need:
- 0.5 kg sugar or 250ml molasses
- 8 l lukewarm water
- 200g worm humus and/or 1 cube yeast
Tip: Instead of commercial yeast and lukewarm water, you can also use homemade wild yeast. Since it is less concentrated, it is recommended to use twice the amount, i.e. about three to four liters.
Make and Use Compost Accelerator
Making compost accelerator is quite simple:
- Fill a bucket with lukewarm, chlorine-free water and add the cube of yeast or fresh worm humus.
- Mix the water well to bring in air.
- Now add the sugar/molasses and stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Let this mixture stand for about 1 hour. Stir from time to time during this process.
- Now apply the finished compost accelerator evenly to your compost pile with a watering can, and mix it well.
- Now within the next 3 days, the temperature of the compost pile should rise. (If you want to monitor the temperature curve, we recommend a compost thermometer).
- After about 1 week, you can turn the compost pile, or mix it well again. Further application of compost accelerator is not necessary.
- The compost pile heats up again and can be used 7 days after the last turning.
Here’s How the DIY Compost Accelerator Works
Compostable waste is decomposed by microorganisms, bacteria, and fungi, as well as larger animals such as worms. When new plant waste is piled up on the compost heap, the microorganisms have to “work their way through” it before they can start their work. The yeast fungi, which immediately reach the right place with the irrigation water, multiply very quickly and accelerate decomposition. Sugar and water provide optimal working conditions for the microorganisms. Other helpful factors for rapid decomposition are a moist, warm and airy environment. Therefore, it is important to create and maintain the compost pile properly.
A “good”, or aerobic, composting process takes place in an environment that is moist (80%), warm (>15°C) and airy (aerobic). Under these conditions, the bacteria and fungi multiply best. The energy needed for this comes from nitrogen and carbon, which should ideally be present in a ratio of 1:20. Since sometimes one of the factors is lacking, a compost accelerator is a quick way to create the optimal conditions.
Tip: If you have worm compost on the balcony, you can also make a compost accelerator with fresh worm humus. The soil is teeming with microorganisms that contribute to decomposition. Add about 200 grams of worm humus to the water instead of yeast.
The dissolved warm sugar, in combination with the compost, provides an ideal breeding ground for the bacteria.
The good bacteria and fungi from worm humus thus multiply very quickly and start decomposing the biomass. The yeast is a good second choice to introduce decomposing fungi. Thanks to the molasses, there is enough energy to heat up the compost pile (hot rotting).
In order for the hot rot to drain well, the compost pile should be at least 1m³ in size, but still loosely piled up. The hot rotting will then sterilize many unwanted fungal spores and weed seeds within 24-72 hours of use.
After the hot rotting comes the maturing phase, in which the nutrients in the compost are bound. This requires far less energy.
It is recommended to apply the compost accelerator with a watering can. This will ensure an even application. Ideal is a dry, not too sunny day with temperatures around 20 ° C.
- Pour liquid evenly onto the compost pile
- Mix thoroughly
Now you have to wait and see. In the following three days, the temperature in the compost pile should rise. For a layman, this hot rot is difficult to judge, so it may be useful to consult a special compost thermometer from the specialized trade.
One week after the application the compost heap is again thoroughly mixed and/or if necessary moved.
How long it now takes individually until the humus can be used depends on various factors:
- Degree of comminution
- Waste composition
However, it is generally considered that after about eight to ten months, fantastic humus is formed.
Plant Mixture as a Compost Accelerator
Plants such as valerian, comfrey, nettle or fern fronds can also speed up the compost. They are put with water so that they ferment.
After the fermentation process, mix them with water in a ratio of 1:10 and add the solution to the compost.
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