April 26 2019 – Kevin Yaworski
A friend heard I was composting and asked what I thought about compost accelerators.
I had never heard of them but after some quick reading it sounds like you can accelerate naturally or buy proprietary accelerator which can be costly.
I was doing some of this already but this will help when I need to compost pine cones and other woody materials. I usually leave the cones in a pile out of the way by my fire wood pile and the squirrels find them and reduce them to the core and shavings. Composting these still slower then the leaves and scraps in my pile so show up when spreading compost on lawn but can collect easily by raking them and other bits to return to compost pile or in separate slower pile. Now I can try acceletating.
To help compost along keep piles about 3′ wide x 3′ deep to raise temperature. Keep the right balance of green / nitrogen rich material to brown / carbon rich. For piles with dried leaves and similar use 2:1. For more woody material it needs to be a much higher ration. Add green / nitrogen rich material like grass clippings, alfalfa hay, chopped up nettle and comfrey leaves etc… Stiring regularly to add oxygen (every 3 to 7 days depending on how packed it is) and keep moist.
Urea or urine is very high in nitrogen and can be used if diluting. If the urine contains traces of medications and the compost used for plants to consume there is some concern about them breaking down into toxic components or handling the soil but it sounds like the risks are low if compost large enough and working properly but maybe worth reasearching specifics.
Apparently animal manure including dog mixed with sawdust is another high source of nitrogen if needed.
This spring my large row of compost is heating up nicely and I need to turn it regularly to stop it from getting too hot. Applying some water that was on top of our winter cover for above ground pool with gravity pump has helped. My rain barrel is also setup now if needed. I keep a large wheeled garage bin by the back door during winter for compostable scraps and adding that in spring helps balance out all the leaves from the fall.