The time has come to turn my allotment compost heap and I thought why not bring you guys along?
This could be really helpful for those of you just starting out with your own composting and wondering how and maybe why we turn our compost heaps.
How To Turn A Compost Heap
There are two main ways that you can turn a compost heap and one is a lot better than the other but requires more space.
You can move the entire compost heap from one compost bin to another, this is the best method, or you can turn the heap where it is with a garden fork.
The first method is the best way to turn a compost heap but you obviously need to have a spare spot to move your compost heap to.
The way I will be showing you is using the two compost heaps method as you can see in the photo above.
Step 1 – Prepare The New Compost Heap
I like to line my compost heaps out with cardboard down all of the sides. This just helps keep everything together and makes sure nothing falls out of your heap.
Step 2 – Start Moving Material Over
Use a garden fork and start to move the material from your old compost heap to the new. The stuff at the top of your old heap will now be at the bottom of your new heap.
This will help the newer material break down quicker as it is right at the bottom of the heap.
Step 3 – Keep Going
Now you just keep going, moving over the old heap little by little. When you are done you will have completely flipped your compost heap upside down.
This will introduce a lot of oxygen, mix everything up and also reduce compaction all at once.
It will also help the newer material that was at the top of your heap break down quicker as it will now be at the bottom where it is a lot warmer.
Time to wipe the sweat off my brow, don’t ask me why I decided to do this job on one of the hottest days of the year but it certainly got my heart rate up!
Why Turn A Compost Heap?
Oxygen is an essential part of composting, by turning the heap we introduce more oxygen into the compost, particularly in the middle of the heap.
This will help to speed up the composting process by making it aerobic rather than anaerobic.
Turning a compost heap also mixes everything up, so if you had a clump of grass in one spot you are likely to break this up.
A well-mixed compost heap also speeds up the composting process.
A good mix of carbon elements, cardboard, paper, wood and nitrogen elements, grass clippings, and plants, these are commonly referred to as your browns and greens are essential to good composting.
Another benefit of turning a compost heap, especially when have finished adding new material to it, is that your new material will now be right at the bottom of the heap.
This will compost faster due to it being much hotter at the bottom of the heap rather than the top.
So by turning the compost we can allow the newer material to catch up and break down quickly so that the whole heap of compost is ready to use at the same time.