6 Ways to Accelerate Composting for Rapid Results

6 Ways to Accelerate Composting for Rapid Results

6 Ways to Accelerate Composting


Composting is an essential skill for any prepper or sustainability enthusiast. It allows you to turn organic waste into nutrient-rich soil for your garden, reducing waste and improving the health of your plants. While traditional composting can take several months to produce usable compost, there are ways to accelerate the process. In this article, we will explore six effective ways to speed up composting and produce high-quality compost in less time.

1. Chop or Shred the Organic Material

One of the simplest and most effective ways to accelerate composting is to chop or shred the organic material before adding it to the compost pile. By breaking it down into smaller pieces, you are increasing the surface area of the material, which helps bacteria and microorganisms break it down more quickly. Shredded leaves, small twigs, and kitchen scraps are all ideal materials for a compost heap.

My 2 Cents:

Investing in a shredder or using a lawnmower with a bag attachment can make the process of chopping or shredding organic material much easier. Not only will this speed up the decomposition process, but it will also give you a more uniform compost mixture.

2. Maintain the Right Moisture Level

Moisture is a crucial factor in speeding up composting. If your compost pile is too dry, the decomposition process will slow down. On the other hand, if it is too wet, it can become anaerobic, leading to a foul smell and a slower decomposition process. Aim for a moisture level similar to that of a damp sponge. If the pile feels too dry, add water. If it feels too wet, add dry materials such as shredded leaves or straw to absorb the excess moisture.

My 2 Cents:

To ensure that your compost pile maintains the right moisture level, consider covering it with a tarp or a compost bin with a lid. This will help retain moisture and prevent excessive evaporation. Regularly check the moisture level and make adjustments as necessary.

3. Turn the Compost Pile Regularly

Turning or mixing the compost pile regularly is crucial for aerating it, providing oxygen to the microorganisms responsible for decomposition. Turning the pile also helps distribute moisture, heat, and nutrients evenly. Aim to turn the pile every one to two weeks, using a garden fork or a compost turning tool. As you turn the pile, you can also incorporate dry materials to balance the moisture content and speed up decomposition.

My 2 Cents:

If you have a large compost pile, consider dividing it into two or more smaller piles. Turning smaller piles is much easier and less physically demanding. It also allows you to have a continuous supply of compost, as one pile can decompose while the other is being filled.

4. Add Nitrogen-Rich Materials

Nitrogen is an essential element for the decomposition process, as it promotes the growth and activity of bacteria and other microorganisms. Adding nitrogen-rich materials to your compost pile can significantly speed up decomposition. Good sources of nitrogen include kitchen scraps, fresh grass clippings, and animal manure. Aim for an overall carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of 25:1 to create a balanced and efficient compost pile.

My 2 Cents:

If you’re lacking nitrogen-rich materials, you can supplement your compost pile with organic nitrogen fertilizers or amendments such as blood meal, bone meal, or alfalfa meal. These will provide an instant boost of nitrogen to the microorganisms, resulting in faster decomposition.

5. Utilize Compost Activators

Compost activators are products specifically designed to speed up the composting process. They contain a blend of beneficial microorganisms and enzymes that help break down organic matter more quickly. Compost activators can be added to your compost pile to give it a boost. Look for products that have a diverse range of microorganisms and enzymes for best results.

My 2 Cents:

While compost activators can be effective, they are not necessary to achieve speedy composting. With proper attention to moisture levels, aeration, and the right balance of carbon and nitrogen, you can achieve rapid decomposition without the need for additional products.

6. Utilize Hot Composting Techniques

Hot composting is a technique that takes advantage of the natural heat generated by the decomposition process. By creating a large enough pile and providing the right conditions, you can achieve temperatures as high as 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 70 degrees Celsius). These elevated temperatures speed up the breakdown of organic matter, killing off weed seeds and pathogens in the process. Hot composting typically yields usable compost in just a few weeks.

My 2 Cents:

To ensure successful hot composting, make sure your compost pile is at least three feet (one meter) high and wide. This size allows for proper heat generation and insulation. Regularly monitor the temperature with a compost thermometer and adjust the pile as needed to maintain high temperatures. Remember to turn the pile regularly to distribute heat and provide oxygen to the microorganisms.


Composting is a valuable skill for any prepper or sustainability enthusiast. By employing these six methods, you can significantly speed up the composting process and produce high-quality compost in a shorter amount of time. Remember to chop or shred the organic material, maintain the right moisture level, turn the compost pile regularly, add nitrogen-rich materials, utilize compost activators if desired, and consider hot composting techniques. With patience and proper care, you’ll soon be rewarded with nutrient-rich compost for your garden.

My 2 Cents:

Composting is not only beneficial for your garden but also for the environment. By diverting organic waste from landfills and reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers, you are contributing to a more sustainable future. Don’t be afraid to experiment and learn from your composting journey. Each compost pile is unique, and with time, you’ll discover the best practices that work for you. Happy composting!