Compost accelerators are also called compost boosters and compost starters. But by any name, it all does the same thing: speeds up the natural processes taking place in your compost pile. Making compost is a bit of an art form, and the main ingredient in the pile is time. When you haven't got a lot of time to wait for compost to happen naturally, it's time to use an accelerator.
How Accelerators Work
When you create a compost pile, you’re harnessing the power of nature. The plant matter and food materials you put in the pile naturally break down over time. All the different stuff mixed together in the pile turn into dark material that’s rich in nutrients. When placed in landscape and garden areas, compost infuses the soil to create a healthier environment for plants.
Compost accelerators are used to speed up the natural decomposition process that takes place in the pile. A compost booster is made up of minerals and microbes that encourage decomposition, so your compost can be used more quickly.
The right balance of nitrogen is essential for any compost pile. For microbes to grow and compost to begin breaking down naturally, nitrogen must be present. If there isn't enough nitrogen in your compost pile, the natural process will take much longer and the compost won't be ready for weeks or months. But if there's too much nitrogen in your compost pile, it will begin to smell. This odor can be extremely unpleasant and strong.
Adding nitrogen to a compost pile can be tricky because you don't want to add too much. But if your compost pile is taking a long time to break down, you can add a little more nitrogen with fertilizer or any pre-made compost accelerator. Adding the accelerator is as simple as pouring it on top of the pile and using a large stick to mix it around so that it permeates every level of the compost.
Throw in Some Soil
You don't necessarily have to add chemicals or specific ingredients to your compost pile to accelerate the decomposition process. You can always add more microbes to the pile by adding soil. This is natural material that already contains microbes that break down plant matter, which is exactly what needs to happen in your compost pile.
Potting soil is already nutrient-rich, but you can take soil out of your own garden as well. Remove any rocks or pieces of debris from the soil before you add it to the pile.
Make Your Own Compost Accelerator
Mix 6 ounces of beer with 12 ounces of soda (full-flavored, not diet) and a half cup of ammonia. Add it to two gallons of warm water to make a compost tonic that will accelerate the decomposition process when you pour it over the pile. It sounds strange, but this recipe really works.
Beer contains yeast that encourages decomposition. Ammonia has nitrogen, which is an essential ingredient for the compost pile, and the soda is stuffed with sugar that gives microbes plenty of nourishment to feed on so they can vigorously break down plants and material in the pile.
Get a Compost Cover
One of the easiest and most natural ways to accelerate composting is to cover the pile with a lid. There are many reasons why this is helpful. Rainwater cools down the compost, which slows down the decomposition process. When the water runs off the pile, it can also leach away valuable and needed microbes and minerals. This will also slow down the composting process.
Cover your compost to keep the environment warm and to keep it controlled. You'll lose less from the pile, and that means it will have more to work with as it decomposes over time.
Using a compost accelerator will make your compost usable much more quickly. There are lots of ways to speed up the natural decomposition process to get your compost material ready. Try the method or methods that work best for your needs, and start using your compost sooner.