What Will Make Compost Break Down Faster?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:55 pm

Even minor oversights cause compost not to decompose. Too few compost worms or indiscriminate piling are among the most common pitfalls that torpedo the decomposition of garden and kitchen waste into valuable natural fertilizer. Even when home gardeners compost strictly according to directions, the rotting process takes a whopping twelve months. Read this guide to successfully speed up composting.


Optimize compost worm population

For compost to rot quickly, it’s important to have a sufficient number of industrious compost worms. In addition to countless microorganisms and tiny creatures, special subspecies of the earthworm process your garden and kitchen waste into humus soil. As the name indicates, a compost worm prefers to choose a compost or dung heap as its habitat. Here it feeds on plant residues and organic kitchen waste, which is excreted as humus. It sometimes takes some time for a sufficient population to settle in the compost heap. Along the way, the compost rots very slowly or not at all. By purchasing compost worms from a specialty store and releasing them, you will significantly speed up the composting process. Here’s how to do it correctly:

  • Ideally, purchase live compost worms at a regional specialty store.
  • Alternatively, order online from special worm farms
  • 1000 worms are sufficient per m³ (450 l) of compost.
  • Spread on the compost heap on the same day

What Will Make Compost Break Down Faster?

Reputable online suppliers ship live compost worms from Monday to Thursday. For safe transport, the shipment of each 1000 earthworms should include about 1 kilogram of worm humus. Please give preference to those suppliers who, in the summertime, use reusable cold packs protect the animals from heat stress during shipping.

Tip: In a full-sun location, any compost will stubbornly refuse the rotting you crave. Choose a semi-shaded to shaded location, preferably under the canopy of a deciduous tree for natural rain protection.

Grind and mix ingredients

For compost worms, microorganisms and microorganisms to work smoothly, the right composition of ingredients is essential. A wide range of vegetable garden and kitchen waste is suitable for conversion into natural fertilizer. These include withered plant parts, prunings from woody plants, lawn clippings, leftover vegetables and fruit. However, the organic material causes the industrious helpers considerable digestive problems if it is too coarse, too fine, too wet or too dry. In the worst case, the entire processing procedure comes to a standstill and the compost does not rot. Here’s how to put some pep in your composting:

  • Shred woody waste in advance in a shredder to 5 to 10 cm.
  • Chop thick peels of oranges, lemons, bananas before composting.
  • Tear tea bags and coffee filters
  • Mix coarse with fine and wet with dry material
  • Examples: Wood chippings with lawn clippings or wilted perennials with fall leaves.

Alternatively, spread different consistencies as thin layers alternately
The more diverse the composition of the starting material, the faster the processing by compost worms & Co. will proceed. Conversely, compost cannot rot if it consists of a large pile of lawn clippings or scarifying residues.

compost pile does not rot, but stinks to high heaven when cooked food scraps, meat and bones accumulate. Combined with rising temperatures, rot spreads, inevitably attracting rats and mice. In this case, even mixing with chopped wood chips will not set the rot to work.

Note: Did you know that summer heat stops rotting in compost? Even in a shady location, the decomposition process comes to a halt when the material dries out. Water the compost pile with rainwater or stagnant tap water in midsummer when the skies keep their floodgates closed.

Add compost accelerator

The lengthy process from organic waste pile to nutritious permanent humus grates on the nerves. Under optimal conditions, busy microorganisms claim up to twelve months for their beneficial activity. Who does not like to be patient over such a long period, resorts to a compost accelerator. These are natural aids in the form of bacteria and fungal cultures that speed up the decomposition process. The following overview presents recommended products for home gardens:

  • Quick composter with guano from Beckmann, 7.5 kg for 9 m³ at a price of 20.85 euros
  • Oscorna compost accelerator, 10 kg for up to 10 m³ at the price of 20,70 Euro
  • Radivit compost accelerator from Neudorff, 5 kg for up to 10 m³ of green waste at a price of 16.80 Euro
  • Organic compost accelerator from Dehner, 5 kg for up to 8 m³ green waste at the price of 10 Euro
  • OBI compost accelerator (the cheap one), 2,5 kg for up to 12 m³ at the price of 6,99 Euro
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Kompost verrottet nicht

Ready-to-use compost accelerators are available in powder form. Sprinkle the agent thinly on the unwilling compost pile directly from the package. Spread about 30 grams per square meter on each 10- to 20-centimeter-high layer, as well as a 3-to-5-centimeter layer of garden soil. Repeated mixing or turning optimizes effectiveness. The bacteria and fungi contained in it get to work immediately, so that the heat fermentation starts within a few days. Ideally, you should cover the compost pile with reed mats during this time.

Make your own compost speeding rotting aids

Economy foxes among home gardeners make compost accelerators themselves. Here’s how to do it (materials needed for 1 m³ of compost):

  • 500 grams of sugar
  • 8 l water (lukewarm)
  • 1 cube fresh yeast
  • 1 bucket
  • 1 watering can

To prepare the mixture, pour the lukewarm water into the bucket and add the yeast cube

Add the yeast cube, which you have previously crushed with your fingers. Stir the water and yeast pieces vigorously so that oxygen accumulates in it. Now add the sugar, stirring constantly until it is completely dissolved. Let the mixture sit for about 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the finished compost accelerator into the watering can and spread it evenly over the compost pile. Finally, mix the compost thoroughly. Over the next three days, the temperature will rise significantly. If available, you can use a compost thermometer to monitor the process. After a week of waiting, turn the compost or mix the material well one more time.

Thanks to the home-made rotting aid, the decomposition process in the compost is activated. This is primarily accomplished with a combination of 80 percent moisture, at least 15 degrees of heat and plenty of air. Under these conditions, bacteria and fungi multiply rapidly, provided that nitrogen and carbon are available in the ideal ratio of 1:20.

By adding compost accelerator, you establish the perfect balance. Dissolved sugar acts as an energy supplier for the required hot rot. The yeast cube contains important fungi for the decomposition process. The more planned and loose you have created the compost pile, the more effectively the aid accelerates sluggish composting.

Plant compost accelerator

Brennnesseljauche als Kompostbeschleuniger

Nature-loving home gardeners start each new gardening season with an ample supply of plant iodine. Nettles, comfrey and valerian not only make themselves useful for ecological plant protection. After the fermentation process, the rich yews act as natural compost accelerators at zero cost. Here’s how to produce a plant-based rotting helper the right way:

  • Set up a rain barrel or old tub in a remote corner of the garden.
  • Collect 1,000 grams of non-flowering nettle, comfrey or valerian leaves.
  • Put leaves in the container and fill with 10 liters of rainwater
  • Cover the barrel or tub with rabbit wire

Stir daily with a wooden stick

After about three weeks, the fermentation process is complete. Filter the slurry with a sieve or remove the fermented leaves with an old dipper. Dilute the plant slurry with fresh, low-lime water at a ratio of 1:10. Use a watering can to apply the plant compost accelerator and mix the pile thoroughly with a digging fork.

Compost faster

Every gardener knows that over time the soil is depleted and for this reason it needs to be replenished with the nutrients it needs. For this reason, most gardeners greatly appreciate their green waste, because it can be used to make excellent nutrient-rich compost soil with a compost pile.

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Those who use compost soil can largely do without additional fertilizers, they improve their own soil structure sustainably and 100% ecologically. In addition, a compost heap saves taking the waste away to the recycling center or disposing of it in the organic waste garbage can.

Proper composting

If you want to create compost, you should follow some basic rules for this, so that the organic waste can be transformed into valuable fertilizer. The transformation of the biomass into humus occurs with the help of a number of microorganisms.

So that these can also penetrate into the biomass, one should make sure with the compost put on that this has a direct access to the soil. In addition, liquids can also run off much better in this way. The compost pile should be placed neither in the blazing sun nor in a cold and very shady place. The best place is in partial shade, protected from the wind, and where the compost heap is also protected from extreme weather conditions. You can compost all organic waste that accumulates in the garden or in the kitchen.

Here it is important to ensure that they are not chemically contaminated. Large organic waste should be shredded to facilitate composting. In a thermal composter (also called a rapid composter), the decomposition processes run faster because the temperatures inside are somewhat higher. Drum composters, in which the gardener uses a crank to help with mixing and aeration, are an interesting option.

Buy compost accelerator or make your own

Compost accelerators are tools designed to advance the decomposition process of the compost pile. If left to rot without a compost accelerator, it can take between 9 and 12 months for the compost to be ready for use, depending on water content, air circulation and temperature. Commercially available compost accelerators contain compost bacteria as well as fungal cultures.

They are available in powder form. They work best if they are introduced in various layers when the compost is filled. When the compost is already full, the compost accelerator is sprinkled over the compost.

However, the entire mass must then be turned over to distribute it sufficiently in the compost and to mix fresh green material with material that has already rotted. This will help speed up the rotting process and destroy any seed and fungal spores that are in the compost.

Recipe for mixing yourself

If you want to make compost accelerator yourself, stir a piece of yeast in a bucket with about 10 liters of water. Once the yeast has swollen, stir in a bag of sugar until it has completely dissolved. With the help of a watering can, this compost accelerator can then be evenly distributed on the compost. After that, the compost should also be mixed well once again. Plants such as valerian, comfrey, yarrow or nettles and dandelion rosettes and fern fronds also accelerate the rotting process as natural compost accelerators.

A well decomposed compost substrate takes time. Sometimes it happens that the decomposition of the biowaste takes too long or does not work properly. In these cases, an activator helps to animate the soil fauna. However, the basic conditions should also be right.


The most natural form of compost accelerators are earthworms, because they effectively decompose the organic material. Their droppings improve fertility and provide a loose structure. Collect them when digging up your beds and place them on the compost. Alternatively, the compost worms can be attracted to the substrate if you offer sugary material such as overripe fruit.

Plant accelerators

Fern fronds, nettles, valerian and comfrey provide ideal material to activate the decomposition processes. Collect fresh herbs and pour them with lukewarm water. A conventional bucket is suitable as a fermentation container. In a warm place, the first bubbles will rise after one or two days. The fermentation is finished as soon as no more bubbles can be seen. Rock flour counteracts the formation of odors. The plant yeast is mixed with water in a ratio of 1:10 and poured onto the compost.

Yeast solution

A sugar-yeast solution is considered an efficient activator. Fill ten liters of lukewarm tap water into a bucket and add one cube of fresh yeast or one sachet of dry yeast. Stir the mixture vigorously and let it steep for about a quarter of an hour. To make the microorganisms work and multiply, pour one kilogram of sugar into the solution. Once the ingredients have completely dissolved, pour the accelerator over the compost substrate. It develops its optimal effect at temperatures of 20 degrees.

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Make sure that the organic waste does not get too wet. You can also reduce the amount of water for the same ingredient dosage.

Hints for use
In principle, you can pour the yeast water onto the compost at any time if it is not working properly. For quick and even composting, it is recommended to start the cure in the early stages. Once the compost pile has grown 20 inches, you can add the mixture.

Site selection

No activator will work effectively if the basic conditions are not right. Location plays an essential role. Place the compost bin in a shady spot under a tree. Here there is no danger of the substrate drying out too quickly. At the same time, it must be protected from wind and weather to prevent waterlogging. Compost bins with an open bottom ensure that liquid can drain away and earthworms and microorganisms can find their way inside.

This has a positive effect:

  • shred organic waste
  • layer materials with opposite properties
  • moist and dry as well as nitrogen-rich and -poor composition ideal
  • regularly mix layered waste

The composting process can take from a few months to two years. Do we always have to wait so long for good quality manure? We can speed up the composting process if we use some proven methods. Here we present the 3 best methods for fast composting.

composting in a thermal composter

Kompostierung beschleunigen

In the garden we can use different types of composters, but the fastest way to obtain compost is in the so-called thermal composter. .

A thermal composter is usually made of plastic. Its thick sides allow the thermal insulation of compost and through a system of gaps or openings, the material can be aerated. In the thermal composter, compost production can be up to 70% faster. Under favorable conditions, mature compost can be obtained in as little as two months.

To accelerate the decomposition process and reduce the time needed for full compost production, we can also:

  • soak the pile with a solution of mature compost (diluted with water with a little nitrogen fertilizer),
  • add biodynamic herbal preparations (yarrow, chamomile, nettle, dandelion, valerian) to the pile,
  • to the pile add the leaves of comfrey.

Particularly demanding garden lovers can speed up the decomposition with special organic preparations sold in nurseries.

Earthworms digest the compost material and this accelerates decomposition. The excreta is a valuable substance that improves soil fertility and structure, especially if organic clays and minerals were previously added to the compost. On the pile we can throw compost worms collected in the garden or attract them to the compost pile with sugary materials, such as remnants of sweet fruits.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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