” I started composting at home a few weeks ago but I can’t make out if anything is happening. How will I know if my compost is ready?”

After adding wet (kitchen) waste to the compost bin with Remix powder everyday for the last few weeks,  are you also wondering if your compost is ready yet? 

It is something we are asked often, so here are a few pointers to help you check the readiness of your compost. 

📆 Composting is a natural process and takes between 6-8 weeks to happen. 

So for the first few cycles, you can mark your calendar so that you don’t expect anything sooner than that!

👉🏼 Rely on your senses – seeing, smelling, touching

👁 Is it difficult to recognise most of your waste?

👁 Does your compost look moist and airy?

👁 Has the pile reduced to at least half its initial volume?

👃🏼 Does your compost smell beautiful like earth after the first rains?

👌🏼 Is the pile at room temperature?

👌🏼 Does it feel crumbly?

Composting is a natural process

Decomposition is nature’s way of recycling. It is happening around us,  all the time. When all the plant and animal matter has broken down to smaller particles and is ready to be absorbed by plants – that’s when compost is ready. But Nature’s timelines work very differently from ours. You cannot rush composting. You can certainly make things more suitable for it to happen.  And we are here to help! 

Is it difficult to recognise most of your waste?

All organic matter is food for bacteria and other little creatures in the compost pile. They act on our food waste by breaking it down into smaller pieces and converting it to a form that can be easily absorbed by plants. The time taken to fully decompose varies for different kinds of peels and scraps. For instance, an orange peel can take upto 6 months to decompose while an apple core or banana peel may take only up to a month. On the other hand, a mango seed might take the better part of 1 year! 

👉🏼 Cutting the fruit and vegetable peels into smaller pieces makes it easier for the microbes and helps to speed up the process of decomposition.

👉🏼 Adding a teaspoon of compost microbes every week to your pile will help maintain a good rate of decomposition. 

❌ If you can still recognise all your kitchen waste, then your compost is not ready! (Do note that some larger seeds and bones will take a couple of cycles to fully decompose. These you can pick by hand and put back into the compost)

 

Does your compost pile look moist and airy? Is it crumbly?

Ready compost should look moist, like a wrung-out sponge, with loose,crumbly , well aerated texture.

❌ Your compost pile should not be wet, soggy or compacted.

Aerobic composting (like what happens in the Daily Dump compost bins) is decomposition in the presence of oxygen. This helps odour-free, faster decomposition. To ensure this, it is important to add an ingredient like Remix powder and stir the pile occasionally.

As organic matter decomposes, it gives off water which if left unchecked in a compost bin can make it wet and soggy. 

👉🏼 If you have a wet, soggy compost pile, watch this hack to get it back on track.  If the pile is too dry, you can sprinkle (never pour) a little water. 

Has the pile reduced to at least half its initial volume?

✔ If your compost is ready, it should have reduced to at least half its initial volume. 

This happens because, over time, as organic matter starts breaking down in the composter, it loses moisture and microbes break down the waste into smaller and smaller particles. 

❌If your pile has not reduced in volume at all, then you might need to add some compost microbes , Remix powder and mix well. You can also WhatsApp us images of your compost or request a video support call with our team. 

Is the pile at room temperature?

✔ A ready compost pile will be at ambient temperature. 

For the first two weeks from the day you start, it is best to let the centre of the compost pile heat up. This helps the microbes multiply and work faster. When the centre of the pile has cooled down to room temperature, it indicates that the decomposition of the materials has taken place.

This is also why composting will happen faster in warmer climates and can be a little slower when the temperature drops. Adding 

Does your compost smell beautiful like earth after the first rains?

When your compost is ready, it will smell pleasant like fresh earth, or like the forest! 

❌If your aerobic compost pile is smelling bad, it’s a call for help. It could be too wet or there may be insufficient air or less carbon source like Remix powder. To find out why, you can call our WhatsApp helpline – 9916426661

For simple home tests to check if your compost is ready, click here

Composting is Nature’s wonderful, magical process and we are here to help make it simple, easy and doable for you at home. 

email: hello@dailydump.org | WhatsApp +91-9916426661

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  1. Pingback: How to Harvest, Sieve and Store Compost | The Daily Dump Blog

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